Electronic Design UPDATE: December 8, 2003

Dec. 8, 2003
Industry View -- Platform ASICs: Are They Right For You? by Denny Scharf, Strategic Marketing Manager, Communications Products Group, LSI Logic Corp. Semiconductor design today is a delicate balance between various contending objectives...

Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> www.planetee.com December 8, 2003


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Samtec Introduces The Connector Wizard ConnectorWizard.com is Samtec's new on-line Signal Integrity resource for immediate access to expert technical support with design, search, communication and reference tools for the development of high speed interconnects and flex circuitry systems. For more information: http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEq0AI **************************************************************** Today's Table of Contents: 1. Industry View * Platform ASICs: Are They Right For You? 2. Focus On Test & Measuerement * Board Delivers 16-Bit, 100-ksample/s Performance 3. News From The Editors * Flash Cards Run From 1.8- Or 3-V Supplies * Tools Upgrade Configurable CPU * Video Receiver Chip Handles NTSC And HDTV Processing 4. Upcoming Industry Events * Bluetooth Americas * International Semiconductor Device Research Symposium * VLSI Design 2004 * Ninth Joint Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference 5. Magazine Highlights: December 4, 2003 issue: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Distributed Design Teams: Survival of The Best Connected * Leapfrog: First Look -- Chip Sets Hurdle QoS Issues To Deliver Wireless Video * Leapfrog: First Look -- Programmable Amp Merges Precision And Flexibility For Sensor Correction * Leapfrog: First Look -- ExpressCard: Changing The Face Of Computing * Technology Report -- Monolithic IC Op Amps Keep Pace With Design Needs * Technology Report -- Optical Communications Battling Back From Adversity * Design View / Design Solution -- When Should Your Design Use A Wall Adapter For AC Input Power? Electronic Design UPDATE edited by John Novellino **************************************************************** BE SURE TO VISIT www.elecdesign.com, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our Forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. TAKE OUR CURRENT QUICK POLL: The editors would like to know how outsourcing has affected your job: Is it better, about the same, worse, or gone? Go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ03Hf0Ak SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEE30AG **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Industry View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Platform ASICs: Are They Right For You? By Denny Scharf, Strategic Marketing Manager, Communications Products Group, LSI Logic Corp., Milpitas, Calif. Semiconductor design today is a delicate balance between various contending objectives. Of course, it's impossible to optimize for all of them simultaneously. Issues include production cost, development cost, performance, time-to-market, power consumption, and volume expectations. Each design brings its own blend of constraints, which are then mapped onto the existing set of available target technologies. These include standard off-the-shelf products, software-programmable devices (processors), FPGAs, and cell-based ASICs. For many applications, these approaches are fine. For example, a design that requires field programmability calls for FPGAs. Similarly, a "one-dimensional" need for performance or minimal production cost calls for an ASIC. But there is significant demand for a way to address designs that require a balanced optimization for development cost, time-to-market, and performance. Platform ASICs provide such a balanced approach with the judicious application of two key principles, complexity management and design reuse. Managing Complexity Platform ASIC design avoids complexity partly through the use of concepts already taking shape in the ASIC world. Issues such as crosstalk, IR drop, and electromigration -- traditionally handled at gate level late in the design process -- are now anticipated at an early stage, at the RTL level. Complexity is further managed by the use of standard fine-grained building blocks that are already physically present on a "slice," a partially manufactured device. (The design process builds on the slice, resulting in the metal masks to complete the device.) The slice building blocks include fixed gate-level transistor structures (composing a "platform fabric"), diffused memory blocks, and metal-configurable IO-cells. Also provided on the slice is a fully placed power-mesh guaranteed to support any circuitry conforming to the platform design constraints. These elements, while providing significant flexibility, result in consistent, well behaved designs. Together, these (and other) complexity-management mechanisms eliminate the need for analysis late in the design -- analysis that can be time-consuming, and worse, may result in multiple design iterations. Design Reuse Design reuse contributes to both risk mitigation and the reduction of development time. The most direct use of this principle is the presence on base slices (in addition to the universal elements described above) of additional fully diffused circuit blocks. These diffused blocks are not constrained in the same way, meaning they can outpace the fabric-based circuitry both in performance and density. They can do this without contributing to risk or development time, because they are already physically placed and guaranteed to meet specifications. Typical examples of these pre-placed blocks are processors (ARM, MIPS, DSP) and high-speed interfaces (3.2-Gbit/s CML, 1.3-Gbit/s LVDS, DDR, RLDRAM). A more subtle form of design reuse is the availability of circuit blocks that douse the platform fabric. These blocks are easy to integrate and produce guaranteed functionality and performance. These fabric-based blocks also clearly contribute to the value proposition (both time-to-market and risk mitigation), while not pushing performance and density as hard. Such "soft" intellectual property blocks include: * Packet or frame processing associated with the (diffused) high-speed interfaces (such as XGXS; SPI4.2; PCI Express; HyperTransport; Ethernet at 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000 Mbits/s; RapidI/O; etc.), or * Memory controllers associated with the (diffused) high-speed memory interfaces (DDR1, DDR2, QDR, RLDRAM, etc.). The end result is a design approach that provides the right collection of benefits (faster time-to-market, lower up-front cost and unit cost, higher performance, etc.) for a sizeable and growing segment of the custom semiconductor market. Both system vendors and fabless semiconductor companies are beginning to experience these benefits first hand and to enjoy the resulting competitive edge they bring in today's marketplace. Denny Scarf can be reached at mailto:[email protected] To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEr0AJ *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** "Embedded Media Processing" - Live Webcast Dec. 9 On Tues., Dec. 9th, Analog Devices invites you to a webcast on the newest generation of Blackfin Processors. Learn how the Blackfin Processor blends the best attributes of digital signal processing with a RISC-based micro-architecture, enabling more efficient system control and media processing. Register Now at http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEs0AK **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On Test & Measurement ********************** ***Board Delivers 16-Bit, 100-ksample/s Performance The PCI-DAS6033 board offers 64 single-ended (32 differential) channels of 16-bit analog input. It makes measurements on any of 14 ranges at up to 100 ksamples/s. Eight bidirectional digital I/O lines can control relays and solenoids or monitor switch and contact closures. The board has two 16-bit counter/timers. Also, the board is supported by National Instruments LabView, SoftWIRE, Agilent VEE, and Matlab. Measurement Computing's Universal Library allows programming in Visual Basic, C++, or any other popular language. The board comes with fully configured data-acquisition applications, including a strip-chart recorder, oscilloscope, waveform generator, data logger, and X-Y plotter. The PCI-DAS6033 costs $1695. Measurement Computing ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BDpi0Aq ********************** 3. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Flash Cards Run From 1.8- Or 3-V Supplies Able to operate from either a 1.8- or 3-V power supply, a family of flash-based MultiMediaCard (MMC) and reduced-size MultiMediaCards offers capacities of 32, 64, and 128 Mbytes (the HB28M032MM3D/RM3D, 28N064MM3D/RM3D, and 28N128MM3D/RM3D). The low-voltage mode makes the cards an ideal removable storage solution for a wide range of portable products, like mobile phones and digital cameras. Both the reduced-size cards, which are about half the size of standard MMCs, and the standard-size cards comply with the System Specification Version 3.3 set by the MultiMediaCard Association in March 2003. All are upward-compatible with the previous versions of the MMC system specifications. The MMCs' write speed is 1.8 Mbytes/s even at the 1.8-V operating voltage. To achieve this performance, Renesas Technology America Inc. employs its AG-AND-type flash memory chips and a newly developed flash-card controller, both fabricated using a 130-nm process. The company is also releasing higher-capacity, 256- and 512-Mbyte standard-size MultiMediaCards (the HB28J256MM3 and 28J512MM3) that operate at 3 V. Currently in development are 1- and 4-Gbyte MMCs. Renesas Technology America ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ08hC0Am ***Tools Upgrade Configurable CPU A configurable CPU architecture comes with a new tool suite that streamlines chip and software development. The system-on-a-chip from Arc International can be configured with a wide range of standard devices, such as the Arc 611 multimedia controller. The toolset increases the amount of system specification and software support code that can be generated from configuration parameters. This diminishes a developer's workload during the creation of a new system. This also reduces testing, because preconfigured components are designed to work together. Architect 2 provides the hardware design and integration support, while MetaSim supplies RTL testing support with Arc cores and peripheral devices. The ArcAngel FPGA-based prototype system delivers high-speed simulation. The MetaDeveloper is a software-development toolkit incorporating the MetaWare C/C++ compiler, SeeCode debugger, IDE, Instruction Set Simulator (ISS), and Profiler. A cycle-accurate C model is also available. The toolset works with the MQX RTOS and RTCS protocol stack. Pricing for the toolset starts at $11,000 per user. Arc International ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEt0AL ***Video Receiver Chip Handles NTSC And HDTV Processing The Theater 313 receiver chip allows manufacturers of set-top boxes, television receivers, integrated tuner-demodulators, and other video systems to meet FCC requirements and "plug and play" agreements. The chip includes an advanced equalizer for digital terrestrial reception that provides exceptional dynamic and static multipath performance. Superior performance in harsh environments is achieved by the use of robust synchronization and equalization algorithms. Also included on the chip are a universal QPSK forward data channel receiver and a BTSC/dual FM demodulator and decoder. The chip can be configured to operate in either the ITU-J.83B/SCTE DVS-031 compliant 64 QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) or 256 QAM modes used by digital cable systems, the NTSC analog system, or the ATSC-compliant 8VSB (vestigal sideband) mode used in digital terrestrial broadcasting. For digitally modulated input signals (QAM or 8VSB), the chip delivers a parallel or serial MPEG-compliant transport stream. For analog NTSC input signals, it outputs the video as an analog composite video signal and the audio as decoded digital left and right channels via an I2S port. Samples and evaluation systems are available to qualified customers. ATI Technologies Inc. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0puM0A6 ********************** 4. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** Dec. 9-11, Bluetooth Americas San Jose, Calif. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BDpo0Aw Dec. 10-12, International Semiconductor Device Research Symposium (ISDRS) Washington, D.C. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEu0AM 2004 Jan. 5-9, VLSI Design 2004 Mumbai, India http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEFf0A7 Jan. 5-9, Ninth Joint Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference (Intermag) Anaheim, Calif. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEv0AN ********************** 5. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. December 4, 2003: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Distributed Design Teams: Survival Of The Best Connected Increasing design costs and shortened product cycles have turned globally dispersed design teams into a competitive differentiator. * Leapfrog: First Look -- Chip Sets Hurdle QoS Issues To Deliver Wireless Video By improving transmission and reception quality, two companies developed chip sets that handle standard and HDTV video data streams over wireless networks. * Leapfrog: First Look -- Programmable Amp Merges Precision And Flexibility For Sensor Correction Chip-scale-packaged device adjusts for system-level gain and offset errors while protecting against faults. * Leapfrog: First Look -- ExpressCard: Changing The Face Of Computing PCI Express and USB 2.0 bring speed and simplicity to a new, removable device standard. * Technology Report -- Monolithic IC Op Amps Keep Pace With Design Needs Driven by architectural, process, circuit design, and packaging improvements, this low-cost building-block device is available in a plethora of performance choices to suit any design. * Technology Report -- Optical Communications Battling Back From Adversity New players and progressing technologies like SANs and PONs attempt to jumpstart the struggling fiber-optic arena. * Design View / Design Solution -- When Should Your Design Use A Wall Adapter For AC Input Power? For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/edsW0DJhUf0EmQ0BEEw0AO




Editorial: Lucinda Mattera, Associate Chief Editor: mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Associate Publisher: mailto:[email protected]


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