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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores,

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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores,

Steve Leibson

ISBN 0123724988
Pages 344

Microprocessor cores used for SOC design are the direct descendents of Intel’s original 4004 microprocessor. Just as packaged microprocessor ICs vary widely in their attributes, so do microprocessors packaged as IP cores. However, SOC designers still compare and select processor cores the way they previously compared and selected packaged microprocessor ICs. The big problem with this selection method is that it assumes that the laws of the microprocessor universe have remained unchanged for decades. This assumption is no longer valid.

Processor cores for SOC designs can be far more plastic than microprocessor ICs for board-level system designs. Shaping these cores for specific applications produces much better processor efficiency and much lower system clock rates. Together, Tensilica’s Xtensa and Diamond processor cores constitute a family of software-compatible microprocessors covering an extremely wide performance range from simple control processors, to DSPs, to 3-way superscalar processors. Yet all of these processors use the same software-development tools so that programmers familiar with one processor in the family can easily switch to another.

This book emphasizes a processor-centric MPSOC (multiple-processor SOC) design style shaped by the realities of the 21st-century and nanometer silicon. It advocates the assignment of tasks to firmware-controlled processors whenever possible to maximize SOC flexibility, cut power dissipation, reduce the size and number of hand-built logic blocks, shrink the associated verification effort, and minimize the overall design risk.

Chapter 1: Introduction to 21st-century SOC design Chapter 2: The SOC design flow Chapter 3: Xtensa architectural basics Chapter 4: Basic processor configurability Chapter 5: MPSOC system architectures and design tools Chapter 6: Introduction to Diamond cores Chapter 7: The Diamond 108Mini controller core Chapter 8: The Diamond 212GP controller core Chapter 9: The Diamond 232L CPU core Chapter 10: The Diamond 570T superscalar CPU core Chapter 11: The Diamond 330HiFi superscalar audio DSP Core Chapter 12: The Diamond 545CK superscalar DSP Core Chapter 13: Using fixed processor cores in SOC systems Chapter 14: Beyond fixed cores Chapter 15: The future of SOC design