The Week In Review: System-Level Design

Report says Google weighing own processor designs using ARM cores; ARM buys Geomerics; Cadence wins deal with Digital Voice Systems; Synopsys benchmarks SuperSpeed USB; Arteris wins NoC deal for chips.


A widely quoted report by Bloomberg said ARM might benefit from a major deal with Google, which is considering using ARM cores in its own processor designs. It’s impossible to tell at this point whether Google actually will go through with developing its own chips, a move that would have monumental ramifications in multiple areas. For one thing it would give ARM a major entry into the data center, where Intel is the dominant provider of server chips. For another, it could give Google a leg up in Android designs, where software and hardware could be as tightly integrated as in Apple’s iPhone—and provide a huge boost to hardware-software co-design.  It’s always difficult to tell if these kinds of anonymous leaks will pan out, or whether they’re being floated to win better terms with suppliers or even to boost stock prices. At this point it’s probably best to view this information as interesting conjecture.

ARM announced today that it has acquired Geomerics, which provides lighting technology to the gaming and entertainment industries. The deal bolsters ARM’s push into 3D graphics.

Cadence struck a deal with Digital Voice Systems, which ported its sideband decoder software to Cadence’s audio DSPs. The move will improve high-quality voice compression at low data rates.

Synopsys demonstrated data transfers of more than 900Mbps for storage devices and PCs, which more than doubles SuperSpeed USB throughput rates. Synopsys also announced that Switzerland’s Abilis Systems achieved first-pass silicon success using Synopsys’ ARC processor, interface IP and professional services. The addition of professional services in these kinds of deals is becoming much more common as the amount of third-party IP increases.

Arteris won a deal with Israel’s Sckipio, which will use Arteris’ NoC IP for its chips. The standard, which uses a flexible uplink/downlink, runs at 1Gbps over existing copper infrastructure.

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