Electronic Design

On-Chip Interconnect Scheme Reaches For Broader Appeal

Having found some success with high-end SoC makers, such as Texas Instruments and its OMAP cell-phone processors and Samsung with its HDTV chips, Sonics is looking for new homes for its Smart Interconnect technology for on-chip interconnect fabrics. What they've come up with is a slimmed-down version of the interconnect fabric for SoCs of mid-range complexity.

With the SonicsLX Smart Interconnect product, Sonics hopes to sink its hooks into makers of large-volume SoCs for the wireless market (think even more cellphones) and digital consumer electronics. The SonicsLX product contains a reduced feature set in comparison to SonicsMX, the flagship product that was originally developed with the TI OMAP platform in mind. That's not to say, however, that it's crippled in some fashion, but rather that it's intended to serve SoCs of lesser complexity.

Included within the SonicsLX product is a multi-threaded, non-blocking architecture and universal connectivity to any AMBA AXI or AHB or OCP-IP enabled IP cores. It enables users to decouple IP cores from buses for future reuse in respins or derivative designs.

The interconnect fabric also delivers a reduced set of Sonics' dataflow services, which encompass many of the more troublesome aspects of IP integration. These include obvious facilities such as data width conversion for I/O matching to buses, and some more advanced areas like power management, firewalls and security issues, and interrupt and error management.

According to Phil Cassini, Sonics' vice president of marketing, a major advantage of the SonicsLX fabric for makers of mid-range SoCs comes into play when they consider the overall verification picture. "With an interconnect fabric like SonicsLX, you're not architecting and verifying your SoC's interconnect from within the physical design flow," says Cassini. "As data management becomes a central focus of SoC design, being able to shift that aspect of the design into the architectural phase gives designers a lot more flexibility."

The slimmed-down SonicsLX fabric offers upward compatibility with the flagship SonicsMX product, which can be a factor when designing SoCs in areas where the complexity is manageable but ramping up rapidly.

The SonicsLX Smart Interconnect product is available now; contact Sonics directly for pricing and delivery details.

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