Cloud Computing Chips Changing


An explosion in cloud services is making chip design for the server market more challenging, more diverse, and much more competitive. Unlike datacenter number crunching of the past, the cloud addresses a broad range of applications and data types. So while a server chip architecture may work well for one application, it may not be the optimal choice for another. And the more those tasks beco... » read more

The Hunt For A Low-Power PHY


Physics has been on the side of chipmakers throughout most of the lifetime of [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"], but when dealing with the world outside the chip, physics is working against them. Pushing data at ever-faster rates through boards and systems consumes increasing amounts of power, but the power budget for chips has not been increasing. Could chips be constrained by their int... » read more

The Problem With Clocks


The synchronous digital design paradigm has enabled us to design circuits that are well controlled, but that is only true if the clocks themselves are well controlled. While overdesign techniques ensured that to be the case in early ASIC development, designs today cannot afford such luxuries. As we strive for lower power and higher operating frequencies, the clock has become a critical desig... » read more

Managing Voltage Drop At 10/7nm


Power integrity is becoming a bigger problem at 10/7nm because existing tools such as static analysis no longer are sufficient. Power integrity is a function of static and dynamic voltage drop in the power delivery network. And until recently, static analysis did an effective job in measuring the overall robustness of PDN connectivity. As such, it is a proxy for PDN strength. The problem is ... » read more

Electric Vehicles Set The Pace


Electric vehicles are leading the charge for innovation in automotive electronics. Companies that invested and embraced the challenge of EVs are besting their less-nimble, less-open-minded engineering cohorts. Semiconductors and embedded computers have been controlling the dashboard, mirrors, seats, heating and cooling for years. But with EVs, engineering teams are starting to tackle tas... » read more

Power Impacting Cost Of Chips


The increase in complexity of the power delivery network (PDN) is starting to outpace increases in functional complexity, adding to the already escalating costs of modern chips. With no signs of slowdown, designers have to ensure that overdesign and margining do not eat up all of the profit margin. The semiconductor industry is used to problems becoming harder at smaller geometries, but unti... » read more

The Ultimate Shift Left


Floorplanning is becoming much more difficult due to a combination of factors—increased complexity of the power delivery network, lengthening of clock trees, rising levels of communication, and greater connectedness of [getkc id="81" kc_name="SoC"]s coupled with highly constrained routing resources. The goal of floorplanning is to determine optimal placement of blocks on a die. But connect... » read more

Worst-Case Results Causing Problems


The ability of design tools to identify worst-case scenarios has allowed many chipmakers to flag potential issues well ahead of tapeout, but as process geometries shrink that approach is beginning to create its own set of issues. This is particularly true at 16/14nm and below, where extra circuitry can slow performance, boost the amount of power required to drive signals over longer, thinne... » read more

Test More Complex For Cars, IoT


With increasing focus on safety-critical semiconductors—driven by ADAS, IoT, and security—functional safety concerns are going through the roof. Engineering teams are scrambling to determine how to conduct better in-field or online testing because test no longer can be an afterthought. This has been a common theme across the automotive ecosystem for the past few years, and as the automot... » read more

New Memories And Architectures Ahead


Memory dominates many SoCs, and it is rare to hear that a design contains too much memory. However, memories consume a significant percentage of system power, and while this may not be a critical problem for many systems, it is a bigger issue for Internet of Things ([getkc id="76" kc_name="IoT"]) edge devices where total energy consumption is very important. Memory demands are changing in al... » read more

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