The Week In Review: System-Level Design

ARM rolls out server standard spec with ecosystem; Synopsys expands RTL synthesis and test suite capabilities; Sonics adds new version of bridge IP; Cadence and Qualcomm numbers grow.


ARM and its ecosystem teamed up to create a server platform standard based on the ARMv8-A processor. The new Server Base System Architecture specification leverages a broad swath of companies in ARM’s ecosystem, including Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE, Linaro, Citrix, AMD, Broadcom, Citrix and Cavium, as well as OEMs HP and Dell. ARM has been successful in leveraging an ecosystem to win the lion’s share of the mobile phone market. How it fares with the same strategy against Intel in the low-power “microserver” market remains to be seen, but reducing the power for many functions is considered a critical selling point inside of data centers because of the cost of powering and cooling server farms. ARM also announced its chairman, John Buchanan, is stepping down due to a medical condition. He will be replaced by Stuart Chambers, chairman of beverage can maker Rexam.

Synopsys released the latest version of its RTL synthesis and test suite, claiming a 10% reduction in area and leakage power at all process nodes, RTL analysis and debugging, and early congestion detection and optimization. Synopsys also won a deal with CEVA, which is using the same tool suite to achieve higher frequency and smaller area for its DSP cores. Synopsys also rolled out PHY IP for the enterprise with a top speed of 12.5Gbps, and it developed a customized ASIC design flow with Fujitsu Semiconductor that includes early design exploration and which can be optimized for lower power consumption and faster time to final layout. In addition, the company announced availability of the latest releases of its advanced timing and parasitic extraction tools.

Sonics rolled out the next generation of its asynchronous bridge IP, with support for dynamic voltage and frequency scaling in chips with multiple power and clocking domains. New are increased spanning capabilities, support for ARM’s AMBA and ACE, automatic clock gating, faster power gating and optimized RTL hierarchy. Sonics also inked a deal with Chipware, which will represent Sonics on-chip networking products in India.

Cadence reported its Q4 and fiscal 2013 results. Revenue for fiscal Q4, ended Dec. 28, was $377 million, up from $348 million in Q4 2012. Q4 net Income was $38 million compared to $313.9 million in 2012. But on a non-GAAP basis, which takes into account such things as tax benefits and acquisitions, net income for Q4 was $66.9 million compared to $58.0 million in 2012. For the year, revenue was $1.46 billion compared with $1.33 billion in 2012. Non-GAAP net income was $252.1 million, compared to $216.7 million in 2012.

Qualcomm, which is a bellwether in the fabless mobile SoC market, reported revenues of $6.62 billion for its fiscal Q1, ended Dec. 29, up 10% year over year and 2% sequentially. Net income was $1.88 billion, down 2% year over year but up 25% sequentially. On a non-GAAP basis, net income was up 19% sequentially.

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