Sondrel Modules Accelerate Implementation of New ASIC Designs


A new use of wrappers for IP blocks creates interchangeable standardized modules

Reading, United Kingdom — December 7, 2021 — Sondrel revealed that her recently launched family of Architecting the future™ IP platforms are very easy to modify to precisely match customer ASIC requirements. It is because of its innovation Scalable Architecture Framework (SAF) on which they are all based. This uses reusable modular IP blocks that each have a wrapper containing a standardized set of functions and interfaces. Each Architecting the future The IP platform was created by assembling the blocks required to meet the performance and functionality required for a particular application domain.

Diagram of three slices showing slice architecture

“It’s like building blocks that have standardized studs that interconnect them,” explained Rowan Naylor, Sondrel’s lead system architect, “with a central frame that the blocks connect to. Now blocks of different sizes and different types can be repositioned in the chassis to make room for new ones without having to completely start the whole design from scratch, which you would normally have to do.Indeed, we have created a standard for configurable wrapper interfaces that encapsulate each IP block with supporting functions and services, such as clock reset and power management, so it’s less hassle to plug them in and reposition them for customization. standards will also mean that we can quickly create a wrapper for any IP address provided by the customer or a third party.”

Graham Curren, CEO of Sondrel, added: “There is nothing new in IP reuse, but the practical implementation is invariably quite complicated as there is no universal standard for IP interfaces. IP block, so design time must be spent customizing IP block interfaces for each implementation. Sondrel works across a wide range of application domains, giving us a unique perspective so we can see how IP blocks could be reused across domains if they had standardized interfaces. So we created our Scalable Architecture Framework which uses modularization with standard interfaces to give us a quick way to practically reuse IP blocks and add and modify as needed. In one case, for example, we were able to save six months of ASIC design time with this new approach.

Sondrel used SAF to create the first five members of the Architecting the future family of IP platforms that are each designed to have virtually everything needed for an ASIC solution for a particular application domain. The standardized modular approach means that at the start of a new customer project, Sondrel selects the appropriate IP platform and then customizes it by adding more computing blocks for improved performance or different functionality with the appropriate block from its library of blocks to create a tailor-made solution. Solution. A third-party or client IP, once packaged, is also added to the design. The overall result is that SAF allows Sondrel to significantly reduce design time by having an efficient way to quickly assemble solutions for customers and save them design costs while allowing them to have a product on the market much faster.

“We believe we are the first company to have created such a framework that allows intellectual property to be efficiently and easily reused in a standardized modular way,” added Graham Curren. “Many have tried in the past to do this, but we believe that we are the first to have done it successfully as a solution that can be easily used in many application areas.”

Graham Curren, concluded: “This ‘block’ approach is particularly useful when the ASIC specification changes during the design process, as often happens when the customer refines the requirements as the project progresses. progress. Normally such changes might require a complete overhaul to include new features or extra computing power, but now with SAF modules are added or removed from the chassis. This saves our customers tremendous time and money and underpins our driving force for the architecture of the future of ASIC design.

Technical details

SAF is based on a “chassis” that encapsulates the basic services and resources required in the application class, i.e. transport fabric (NoC/NiC), system memory, Power- Clock-Reset and system management (startup, configuration, FuSa and general application management functions). All IP blocks connect and communicate with each other through the chassis to ensure easy integration and rearrangement, unlike design methodologies where blocks connect directly to other blocks requiring complete redesign if changes are needed.

As the chassis is usually the part of the system that is unique, extensive use of Sondrel’s modeling processes enables chassis sizing and configuration with respect to both bus structures and subsystem(s). (s) of memory. The modeling also covers how data processing requirements are distributed across multiple heterogeneous processing slices for each mode of operation to meet power and performance constraints. The SAF then makes it possible to carry out the integration in a reliable and predictable manner.

Blocks correspond to compute and I/O functions (CPU, DSP, PCIe, etc.) that are implemented in “slice” based subsystems. Each slice has standard services and interfaces for interworking, synchronization and communication. This approach scales performance by increasing the number used so that, for example, three identical slices nominally triple the computing power. Additional functionality can also be easily integrated by plugging the appropriate modular slice into the chassis. Using slices also reduces the overall project time because every slice in the library has already been tested and verified, which also reduces project risk.

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About Sondrel™

Founded in 2002, Sondrel is the trusted partner of choice to manage every step of creating a CI. Its award-winning ASIC definition and design consulting capability is fully complemented by its turnkey services to turn designs into volume-tested and packaged silicon chips. This single point of contact for the entire supply chain process ensures low risk and faster time to market. Based in the UK, Sondrel supports clients worldwide through its offices in China, India, France, Morocco and North America. For more information visit or email [email protected]


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