The geometric growth in the integrated circuit technology due to transistor scaling also with system-on-chip design strategy, the complexity of the integrated circuit has increased manifold. Short time to market with high reliability and performance is one of the most competitive challenges. Both custom and ASIC design methodologies have evolved over the time to cope with this but the high manual labor in custom and statistic design in ASIC are still causes of concern. This work proposes a new circuit design strategy that focuses mostly on arrayed structures like TLB, RF, Cache, IPCAM etc. that reduces the manual effort to a great extent and also makes the design regular, repetitive still achieving high performance. The method proposes making the complete design custom schematic but using the standard cells. This requires adding some custom cells to the already exhaustive library to optimize the design for performance. Once schematic is finalized, the designer places these standard cells in a spreadsheet, placing closely the cells in the critical paths. A Perl script then generates Cadence Encounter compatible placement file. The design is then routed in Encounter. Since designer is the best judge of the circuit architecture, placement by the designer will allow achieve most optimal design. Several designs like IPCAM, issue logic, TLB, RF and Cache designs were carried out and the performance were compared against the fully custom and ASIC flow. The TLB, RF and Cache were the part of the HEMES microprocessor.
- A structured design methodology for high performance VLSI arrays
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by Satendra Kumar Maurya