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The Exploding Variety of New Interfaces for Mobile SoCs

In this week's Whiteboard Wednesdays, Tom Hackett focuses on the wide variety of new and updated mobile interfaces for mobile SoCs. These interfaces are broken down into three catagories—SoC fabric, memory, and chip-to-chip—and include ARM AMBA 4, ARM AMBA 5, OCP, DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, Wide I/O, Wide I/O2, DRAM, eMMC, eMMC5, UFS, CSI-3, SoundWire, USB, PCIe, and SSIC.

High Speed Converters: What? Why? (and a little How?)

As we move our analog-to-digital conversion closer to the beginning of our signal chain, the performance demands can get extreme. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with David Robertson - VP at Analog Devices about how to design high-speed converters for today's most demanding applications.

100G Ethernet Packet Parsing with Spacetime

Designing 100G Ethernet is a daunting challenge. Timing, power, latency, and throughput all fight with each other, and it's easy to fall into a design trap with a solution that doesn't offer a good compromise. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Parsun Raha about the challenges of 100G (and beyond), and how those conflicting design goals can be met by Tabula's innovative Spacetime architecture.

Cadence Low Power Solution - RTL to GDSII Low Power Design

Low-power design used to be an afterthought. Today, however, we need to consider power throughout the entire design cycle - from RTL all the way through GDSII. And, we can have significant impact on overall power consumption with optimizations at just about every stage. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Pete Hardee of Cadence about a holistic approach to low-power design.

Beyond Physical: Solving High-end FPGA Design Challenges

The advantages of using programmable logic to get electronic products to market quickly with less risk and cost are well known and recent market drivers have shifted even further in their favor; new economic realities coupled with changing consumer behavior, shorter product life cycles, richer feature sets, and faster upgrades, to name a few. In step with these demands, high-end FPGAs are now architected using geometries down to 40nm and with capacities of up to five million equivalent ASIC gates. They include performance optimized I/O’s and dedicated DSP architectures that together enable extremely powerful and cost-effective solutions. For these reasons, FPGAs are also widely used to realistically prototype and validate ASIC designs at orders of magnitude higher speeds than are possible with traditional acceleration or emulation based solutions.

Timing Closure Made Easier with Stylus

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats Andy Caldwell (Tabula) about putting an end to the oppressive reign of timing closure terror. Tabula’s Spacetime architecture - it turns out - besides giving us crazy performance for our high-bandwidth designs - also makes timing closure drop-dead easy.

Battery Management Solutions

Designing battery-powered systems can be challenging. In addition to power and form-factor considerations, today's batteries require sophisticated charging and monitoring for maximum safety, life, and performance. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Richard DelRossi of Texas Instruments about battery management solutions that can dramatically simplify your next battery-powered design while adding important monitoring capabilities to your device.

Cadence Tempus Timing Signoff Solution

Achieving timing closure for signoff can be a daunting challenge in today's complex designs. Meeting timing under all conditions - with the certainty required for signoff - is a complex and demanding task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Ruben Molina of Cadence Design Systems about the special challenges of signoff timing closure, and Cadence's new Tempus timing analysis tool.

Enabling New Applications with NFC Connectivity and Energy Harvesting

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Greg Proehl (STMicroelectronics) about the basics of NFC technology, and they explore some interesting NFC applications as well as cool and innovative new NFC solutions from ST - including one with energy harvesting capability.

It’s Easy to Protect Your Embedded System from Theft

If you have invested years and millions of dollars in the design of an embedded system (and in the creation of the Intellectual Property, or IP, that goes along with the design) it can be of critical importance to protect that system from unauthorized duplication or theft. After all, it’s much easier to steal something as complex as a multi-million gate FPGA design than to create, debug, and test it. The protection of an embedded system that uses FPGAs, is particularly relevant since FPGAs have become the platforms of choice for innovation.

Maximize Your Power and Efficiency with PADS Interactive Placement and Routing

For the engineer doing desktop PCB layout, efficiency is important. You don't want to waste precious time fighting with your PCB tool, and you don't want to end up with lousy results because you and your tool weren't getting along. Mentor Graphics PADS provides an efficient, high-productivity interactive placement and routing environment that lets you get great results quickly. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Jim Martens of Mentor Graphics about interactive layout using PADS.

New Approaches to Hardware Acceleration Using Ultra Low Density FPGAs

Ask system designers to list the problems they face – it doesn’t matter whether they’re building mobile consumer, automotive, industrial, medical or scientific applications – and inevitably they’ll mention optimizing host processor performance. It’s hardly surprising. The event-driven architecture of these MPUs allows them to multitask and address new priorities as they occur. But as the number of I/O continues to rise, it also places escalating demand on bandwidth. Tasked with managing a wider array of I/O as well as other system-wide command and control functions, today’s host MPUs must remain operational for longer periods of time, thereby consuming precious power and compute resources.

It's the Software, Silly! - Success with FPGA-based Prototyping

Software is becoming a larger and larger part of our system-on-chip (SoC) designs. It is critical that we be able to begin developing and debugging software as early as possible in the design cycle. But, the hardware part of today's complex designs takes months to stabilize. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks with Juergen Jaeger of Cadence about the tight relationship between software and emulation and how you can achieve success in your SoC design with a comprehensive emulation strategy.

How to Design a Sigma Delta Mixer Circuit

In parts 1 & 2 of this 3-part Chalk Talk series, we talked about how Triad Semiconductor can save you 75%, or even as much as 99% in your next mixed-signal ASIC design. But, what good is savings if you don't know what you can design with it? In this third episode of our 3-part Chalk Talk series, Amelia and Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor have fun taking ViaDesigner out for a spin - designing a sigma delta mixer.

How To Save 75% on Your Next ASIC Design

Do you think developing a custom mixed-signal chip for your application is beyond your team's reach? Too expensive, complicated, and risky? Think again! In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor about how you can dramatically reduce design costs and complexity - bringing that custom chip design within reach. In part one of our three-part Chalk TalkHD series, Amelia and Reid tell you how to save 75% on your design.

Advanced Smart Display Solutions

In today's mobile designs, displays are one of the most important components in differentiating your product. As a result, more people are designing high-resolution displays into mobile devices. But, adding a high-res display to your design can be a complex task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia chats with Pavel Klinger (GLOBALFOUNDRIES) about GLOBALFOUNDRIES' solutions for the new generation of high-resolution smartphone displays.

Fast, Efficient RTL Debug for Programmable Logic Designs

In a typical FPGA design flow, most designers work from a written specification that contains architectural level drawings defining the major logic blocks, interfaces, and busses. The design manager begins to partition functionality based on the diagrams and to assign development based on the block’s functional descriptions. Each block is coded individually and may be simulated in a block-specific test bench. The team assembles the blocks into a device-level file where the ports are pins on the target device. The design is then ready to be compiled for simulation initiating the debug phase of development: Simulation followed by hardware debug.

How IP Enhances Hosted Virtual Desktops

In this week’s Whiteboard Wednesdays, Charles Qi introduces an emerging new application called Hosted Virtual Desktop, which supports increasingly mobile workers who want to use any smart, connected device to access corporate data resources. Charles goes into detail about how Cadence IP can help expand the application to help businesses make mobile workforces more efficient.

SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA Demo: Code Shadowing from SPI Flash to SDR Memory User’s Guide

This demo design shows SmartFusion®2 SoC FPGA device capabilities for code shadowing from serial peripheral interface (SPI) flash memory to single data rate (SDR) synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) and executing the code from SDR SDRAM. Code shadowing is a booting method that is used to execute an image from external faster volatile memories (DRAM) and is the process of copying the code from nonvolatile memory to volatile memory for execution. In performance critical applications, execution speed can be improved by code shadowing where code is copied to higher throughput RAM for faster execution.

Accelerating System Bandwidth with FPGAs and Hybrid Memory Cube

Move over DDR, the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) is here! But, from a design perspective, care and feeding of the amazing HMC can be a lot more demanding than DDR. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Manish Deo of Altera explain how powerful FPGAs can help you tame the HMC in your next design.

OTN Transport of Baseband Radio Serial Protocols in C-RAN Architecture for Mobile Network Applications

This joint white paper by MTI Mobile and Altera presents a proof of concept implementation of digital baseband radio data transport over Optical Transport Network (OTN) compliant to 3GPP Long Term Evolution – Advanced (LTE-A) standard, which enables us to exploit the benefits of Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) architecture. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that data transport between the MTI Radiocomp’s baseband module and a remote radio module over an OTN-compliant mapper from Altera is compliant to Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and to the OBSAI interface protocols.

chalk talks

Low-Power Estimation & Verification With ZeBu

Power consumption is one of the key drivers in system design today, and it’s about time we had a way to estimate and verify the power used by our design. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Lauro Rizzatti (Synopsys) about how to verify and estimate power consumption with the ZeBu emulator.

World's Smallest FPGAs Solve 4 Big Problems

In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia chats with Gordon Hands (Lattice Semiconductor) about some awesomely tiny FPGAs that bring the power of programmable logic into devices like cell phones, tablets, and other power and form factor sensitive applications.

Hardware/Software Co-Verification of ARM Processor-Based Designs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Lauro Rizzatti of EvE about the latest in emulation technology and explains how you can use emulation to dramatically accelerate software development, which is becoming the most time-consuming part of SoC design.

Adding Wi-Fi to Your FPGA Design - Building a Connected Device

In the first episode of our new Chalk TalkHD series, Amelia Dalton talks to Bob Potock from Altium as they add Wi-Fi to an FPGA-based embedded system.

Integrated Power and System Management

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Shyam Chandra of Lattice Semiconductor about an integrated approach to system and power management that will lighten your design load, improve your overall system design, and probably lower your total cost at the same time.

Overcome the Challenges of Highly Constrained Designs

Many of today's high-performance board designs have complex timing constraints, and meeting all those constraints can be a significant design challenge. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Jim Martens of Mentor Graphics about advanced design techniques with PADS that will help get you to design closure faster and with fewer headaches on complex, highly-constrained boards.

It's the Software, Silly! - Success with FPGA-based Prototyping

Software is becoming a larger and larger part of our system-on-chip (SoC) designs. It is critical that we be able to begin developing and debugging software as early as possible in the design cycle. But, the hardware part of today's complex designs takes months to stabilize. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks with Juergen Jaeger of Cadence about the tight relationship between software and emulation and how you can achieve success in your SoC design with a comprehensive emulation strategy.

Introducing Digitally Enhanced Power Analog

Analog power has always been the standard. New digital power modules offer great flexibility, but that comes with a price. For many applications, we'd love to have the simplicity and efficiency of analog power with the features of digital power. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia Dalton chats with Steve Stella from Microchip Technology about mixing the best of digital and analog power.

latest papers and content

How IP Enhances Hosted Virtual Desktops

In this week’s Whiteboard Wednesdays, Charles Qi introduces an emerging new application called Hosted Virtual Desktop, which supports increasingly mobile workers who want to use any smart, connected device to access corporate data resources. Charles goes into detail about how Cadence IP can help expand the application to help businesses make mobile workforces more efficient.

Artix-7 FPGA Transceiver: The Industry's Most Capable Transceiver in a Low-End Device

In this video you’ll see the FPGA industry’s only low end transceiver solution—the Artix-7 FPGA transceiver—that provides auto-adaptive equalization, 2D Eye Scan, and IBIS-AMI simulation models to simplify high speed serial design for cost-sensitive applications.

Xilinx Broadest Cost Effective All Programmable Low-end Portfolio

This generation of all programmable, cost-sensitive applications has reached new levels of sophistication and diversity of requirements. Low cost systems in the consumer, automotive, industrial, medical, and communications space may need a programmable logic device with high serial bandwidth, or for advanced processing, or may simply need bridging functionality and little else. Commonly termed the “low-end” market due to the devices’ relatively low cost and density, these platforms provide varying levels of system integration, performance, and power. They may perform critical tasks such as video analytics or packet processing, or simply expand a system’s I/O connectivity to peripheral devices.

New Approaches to Hardware Acceleration Using Ultra Low Density FPGAs

Ask system designers to list the problems they face – it doesn’t matter whether they’re building mobile consumer, automotive, industrial, medical or scientific applications – and inevitably they’ll mention optimizing host processor performance. It’s hardly surprising. The event-driven architecture of these MPUs allows them to multitask and address new priorities as they occur. But as the number of I/O continues to rise, it also places escalating demand on bandwidth. Tasked with managing a wider array of I/O as well as other system-wide command and control functions, today’s host MPUs must remain operational for longer periods of time, thereby consuming precious power and compute resources.

Using Low Cost, non-volatile PLDs in System Applications

The system market is comprised of applications in telecom infrastructure, computing, high end industrial and high end medical. Power supply sequencing, voltage and current monitoring, bus bridging, voltage level translation, interface control, and temperature measurement are typical board functions found in these applications. System designers are faced with continual pressure to meet their development schedules, and need to implement designs with minimal effort and risk while maintaining maximum flexibility. By using a programmable-based approach instead of several discrete devices or Application Specific Standard Products (ASSPs), designers can accelerate their time-to- market, address system cost and space reduction, and ensure a high level of product differentiation.

Scripted Flows in Vivado Design Suite

When you're using a new tool for the first time, a good GUI is great to have, but once you're up and running and automating a complex design process, scripted flows offer a much more powerful means of controlling your tools. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Ron Plyler of Xilinx explore scripted flows in the Vivado design suite.

Intelligently Expanding Microprocessor Connectivity Using Low-cost FPGAs

Whether they be CPUs, microprocessors or microcontrollers, microprocessors are an indispensable component in modern electronic system design. However, as systems become more complex and host a wider array of features and user interfaces, system architects using mid-range microprocessors in particular typically face three key challenges connecting the microprocessor, or microprocessors, they are using to the rest of their system: implementing more than 150 general purpose I/Os (GPIO), finding cost effective solutions in the 100 to 150 GPIO range, and matching available I/O peripherals with system needs. These challenges can easily be overcome with the use of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), which over the past 10 years have seen a significant reduction in cost and power consumption, making them ideal for a wide range of high- volume, low-cost applications including mobile.

Security Aspects of Lattice Semiconductor iCE40 Mobile FPGA Devices

Product piracy is of strong concern to major companies around the world. R&D costs are very high for leading companies. Therefore, companies plan to recoup these R&D costs by sale of their proprietary products. If pirates are able to steal or copy the final design, or countermand the security systems of these proprietary products, the market will become flooded with low cost alternatives. As a final consequence, major companies will find themselves unable to recover their high development costs, and will lose valuable profits.

Vivado IP Integrator - Tech Packet

Even the best "plug and play" IP blocks are far from fool-proof. One of the most challenging aspects of IP-based design can be getting the blocks stitched together properly, making sure you have the right version of all the IP blocks, and confirming the configuration of your whole design.

Vivado IP Integrator

Even the best "plug and play" IP blocks are far from fool-proof. One of the most challenging aspects of IP-based design can be getting the blocks stitched together properly, making sure you have the right version of all the IP blocks, and confirming the configuration of your whole design. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Tim Vanevenhoven about the powerful correct-by-construction automation built into the IP Integrator in Vivado Design Suite from Xilinx. IP Integrator seriously raises the bar on automation of IP-based design.

The Exploding Variety of New Interfaces for Mobile SoCs

In this week's Whiteboard Wednesdays, Tom Hackett focuses on the wide variety of new and updated mobile interfaces for mobile SoCs. These interfaces are broken down into three catagories—SoC fabric, memory, and chip-to-chip—and include ARM AMBA 4, ARM AMBA 5, OCP, DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, Wide I/O, Wide I/O2, DRAM, eMMC, eMMC5, UFS, CSI-3, SoundWire, USB, PCIe, and SSIC.

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Hierarchical Design Using Synopsys and Xilinx FPGAs

Complex design issues can be addressed using block-based flows where working blocks can be preserved at the netlist level, and optionally at the placement or even the routing level. Unchanged blocks are automatically preserved during synthesis and implementation. The main benefit of this flow is to reduce the number of implementation iterations during the timing closure phase.

Implementing a Cost-Effective Human-Machine Interface for Home Appliances

Traditionally, HMIs for home appliances have been composed of mechanical devices such as buttons and knobs, coupled with display indicators such as LEDs and VFDs. Today there is a massive transformation occurring throughout the home appliance and consumer device markets. As the cost of LCDs drops due to the proliferation of the technology in consumer devices, LCDs with highly interactive GUIs are being deployed as a cost-effective replacement for the HMIs currently found on most home appliances.

Fast Debug of RTL, Speedy Post Analysis

For Altair Semiconductor, which develops SoCs for smartphones and tablets, fast time to market is critical. Verifying its SoC architecture can be challenging, but the company addressed this with a verification flow based on Cadence® Incisive® Enterprise Simulator, the IEEE 1647, e language, and vManager for regression runs. Noam Meser, system level verification lead at the company, tells why he is "addicted" to Cadence.

A Call to Action: How 20nm Will Change IC Design

The 20nm process node represents a turning point for the electronics industry. While it brings tremendous power, performance and area advantages, it also comes with new challenges in such areas as lithography, variability, and complexity. The good news is that these become manageable challenges with 20nm-aware EDA tools when they are used within end-to-end, integrated design flows based on a “prevent, analyze, and optimize” methodology.

A Validated Methodology for Designing Safe Industrial Systems on a Chip (REVISED)

This white paper explores an industrial system on a chip (SoC) to explain how engineers can save up to 18 months of design time in achieving industrial product certification according to IEC 61508. Altera’s Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL3) Functional Safety Data Package, which includes a certificate for Altera tools, IP, and device data from TÜV Rheinland, shortens and simplifies development of safe applications according to IEC 61508 while efficiently addressing the needs for low-cost and highly integrated embedded systems.

SmartFusion Customizable System-on-Chip: Intelligent, Innovative Integration

The whole point of an FPGA is flexibility. We could also mention integration and say instead that the whole point of an FPGA is flexibility and integration. But then there is cost savings. So the whole point of an FPGA is flexibility, integration and cost savings. Yet there is also power reduction. And then there’s security.

Targeting Zynq Using Vivado IP Integrator

Learn how Vivado® IP Integrator can be used to rapidly configure a Zynq® processor and connect it via AXI4 to a video accelerator running in the programmable fabric of the device. Using built in board aware design rule checks and designer automation, Vivado can greatly improve user productivity.

SmartFusion2 Product Brochure

Microsemi's next-generation SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs are the only devices that address fundamental requirements for advanced security, high reliability and low power in critical industrial, military, aviation, communications and medical applications. SmartFusion2 integrates an inherently reliable flash-based FPGA fabric, a 166 megahertz (MHz) ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor, advanced security processing accelerators, DSP blocks, SRAM, eNVM, and industry-required high-performance communication interfaces all on a single chip.

Building a New Type of IP Factory

Reliable IP blocks are essential to the success of most modern SoC and custom IC designs. But finding a reliable, reputable source of verified IP can be challenging. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Kevin Yee (Cadence Design Systems) about Cadence's substantial IP offerings

Accelerate Your System and Consumer Designs With MachXO2 PLDs

In this webcast, we'll take a look at some of the typical system and consumer application requirements, and see how MachXO2 devices address these requirements. We'll also talk about the MachXO2 PLD feature set and discuss some of the available tools that enable you to evaluate and start designing with MachXO2 devices.

Smart, Scalable Debugging with ZeBu

Modern SOC realization requires a development effort beyond that of traditional hardware verification. Creating a complete application-ready SOC platform now includes pre-tapeout software validation and hardware/software co-verification using full-chip RTL models. These billion-cycle scenarios are often beyond the scope of HDL simulation, but are ideal for emulation using EVE’s ZeBu hardware-assisted verification platforms.

Understanding Single Event Effects (SEEs) in FPGAs

With the increasing popularity of programmable logic, FPGAs are finding their way into many applications that were once the territory of ASICs and ASSPs. At the same time, process nodes are shrinking and logic density is increasing, meaning that more of the system can be implemented in a single device. As programmable logic finds its way into avionics, communications and medical applications, designers face demands for increased reliability and safety over many of the traditional markets for FPGAs.

Meeting the Performance and Power Imperative of the Zettabyte Era with Generation

Today’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment developers face a daunting problem in addressing exponential growth in bandwidth demand while minimizing power consumption. This white paper outlines the performance and power requirements for next-generation programmable logic solutions to meet the demands of the growing ICT sector by leveraging multiple process technologies and revolutionary approaches to transistor design, new architectures, and comprehensive device-level power features.

How to Design a Sigma Delta Mixer Circuit

In parts 1 & 2 of this 3-part Chalk Talk series, we talked about how Triad Semiconductor can save you 75%, or even as much as 99% in your next mixed-signal ASIC design. But, what good is savings if you don't know what you can design with it? In this third episode of our 3-part Chalk Talk series, Amelia and Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor have fun taking ViaDesigner out for a spin - designing a sigma delta mixer.

Implementing Floating-Point DSP in an FPGA

Are you finding it challenging to efficiently implement floating-point digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms? Learn how Altera’s new floating-point design flow makes it easy and enables your designs to achieve high performance and efficiency.

Enabling Low-Power EO/IR System Development with FPGAs and Image- and Sensor-Processing IP

Implementing Altera’s VIP Suite of MegaCore® functions, for sensor control and various image-processing capabilities, and Imagize’s FP-5500 compact video-processing engine, for sensor processing and image fusion, on Altera® Cyclone® IV FPGAs can kick-start development efforts for next-generation EO/IR and display systems, as well as provide a canned solution for the “boring” aspects of system design, leaving the designer free to innovate on value-add functions.

Power Considerations In FPGA Design

Power has always been a design consideration. Traditionally, though, a lower priority has been assigned to power than to most other variables (speed/performance, cost, time-to-market, risk, etc.). In today’s marketplace, however, power has become a very important component in the designer’s decision making process. There is good reason for this. Power translates to significant system cost.

Five Ways to Build Flexibility into Industrial Applications with FPGAs

As industrial system complexity increases, FPGAs offer the ability to integrate an entire system on a chip (SoC), at a lower cost compared to discrete MCU, DSP, ASSP, or ASIC solutions. This document describes using an Altera industrial-grade FPGA as a coprocessor or SoC to bring flexibility to industrial applications. Providing a single, highly integrated platform for multiple industrial products, Altera FPGAs can substantially reduce development time and risk.


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