System Performance Analysis At ARM


Performance analysis is a vital task in modern SoC design. An under-designed SoC may run too slowly to keep up with the demands of the system. An over-designed SoC will consume too much power and require more expensive IP blocks. At ARM we want to help our partners build SoCs that deliver the best performance within their power and area budgets. The simple truth is that this is more difficul... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Rising


Chipmakers are ramping up their 14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm slated to ship possibly later this year or next. At 10nm and beyond, IC vendors are determined to scale the two main parts of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] structure—the transistor and interconnects. Generally, transistor scaling will remain challenging at advanced nodes. And on top of that, the interconnects ... » read more

Electromigration: Not Just Copper Anymore


While integrated circuit manufacturers have worried about electromigration for a long time, until recently most of their concerns have focused on the on-chip interconnects. The larger dimensions found in integrated circuit packages have, in most cases, improved heat dissipation, reduced current density, and eliminated most [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] risks. Over the last sev... » read more

Coherency, Cache And Configurability


Coherency is gaining traction across a wide spectrum of applications as systems vendors begin leveraging heterogeneous computing to improve performance, minimize power, and simplify software development. Coherency is not a new concept, but making it easier to apply has always been a challenge. This is why it has largely been relegated to CPUs with identical processor cores. But the approach ... » read more

Transistor-Level Verification Returns


A few decades ago, all designers did transistor-level verification, but they were quite happy to say goodbye to it when standard cells provided isolation at the gate-level and libraries provided all of the detailed information required, such as timing. A few dedicated people continued to use the technology to provide those models and libraries and the most aggressive designs that wanted to stri... » read more

Executive Insight: Sehat Sutardja


Sehat Sutardja, chairman and CEO of Marvell, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about new approaches for design and memory and why costs and time to market are forcing changes in Moore's Law. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What was behind your move into modular packaging? Sutardja: The cost of building chips is getting out of hand. As we make things more ... » read more

Overcoming The Design Bottleneck


SoCs control most advanced electronics these days and functionality, quality, power and security are a combination of both hardware and software. All throughout the development of today's complex systems, the memory hierarchy has remained the same—preserving the notion of a continuous computing paradigm. Today, that decision is leading to performance and power issues. There are several rea... » read more

2.5D Creeps Into SoC Designs


A decade ago top chipmakers predicted that the next frontier for SoC architectures would be the z axis, adding a third dimension to improve throughput and performance, reduce congestion around memories, and reduce the amount of energy needed to drive signals. The obvious market for this was applications processors for mobile devices, and the first companies to jump on the stacked die bandwag... » read more

The Interconnect Bottleneck


With communications playing a crucial role in the design and performance of multi-core SoCs, various interconnect structures have been proposed as promising solutions to simplify and optimize SoC design. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned and the interconnect becomes the bottleneck. “Under high utilization cases the DRAM will be over-constrained with requests from all the a... » read more

Extending The Hardmask


In chip production, the backend-of-the-line (BEOL) is where the critical interconnects are formed within a device. Interconnects—those tiny wiring schemes in devices—are becoming more compact at each node. This, in turn, is causing a degradation in performance and an increase in the resistance-capacitance (RC) delay in chips. “The scaling roadblocks that the interconnect faces need to ... » read more

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