Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Saving Money and Schedule with TimeVision

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Would you like to cut your schedule and cost by over 50%? YES - I would rather not spend days poring over 5 different tools’ check_timing reports!

Recently we worked on a chip where we started working on a fixed-cost, fixed-schedule model. The numbers are compelling – and we wanted to share them here. Now, obviously this is just one piece of the problem (it’s a big design). But we’re able to offer amazing cost & schedule advantages compared to our old way of doing things – as consultants and with a few 10000’s of lines of scriptware that came with us everywhere.

What we could offer using TimeVision Consulting on a large, complex System-On-Chip block at 65nm was….

  • Block -> 30+ clocks, 500K+ instances, 121k registers
  • Contents -> purchased soft & hard IP, internally-designed subsystems, ARM AMBA interfaces
  • DFT – scan & bist logic inserted
  • IOs – several complex & speed-sensitive IO interfaces at full-chip level
  • Modes – generate all mode constraints including functional, scan shift/capture, BIST
  • Requirements – IP documentation for hard/soft IP, several hours of RTL designer(s) time to discuss clocks & other design issues
  • Deliverables (1) qualified & debugged constraints for synthesis and place/route, and (2) qualified, debugged & validated signoff constraints for all modes
Task “Typical” Consulting TimeVision Consulting
Time Expended Cost @$100/hr Time Expended FIXED cost
Timing Constraint Development, Debug, Integration 4 weeks $16 000 4 days $8 000
Backend Collateral (Clock diagrams, balancing requirements, IO timing etc) 1 week $4 000 1 day $2 000
Major Iterative Respin (RTL change, new IP drop) 2 weeks $8 000 2 days $4 000
Prorated EDA tool cost $3 000
TOTAL TIME/COST 7 weeks $31 000 7 days $14 000

Compared to what we would have done previously, we were able to deliver

  • 55% cost reduction
  • 5x faster turnaround time ( 4 weeks -> 4 days)
  • 5x faster turnaround on iterations of the same block ( 2 weeks -> 2 days)

Our 4 day work included the review and integration of RTL desinger/IP Vendor provided point-to-point, register-level false/mcp paths and case_analysis.

Wow! Who wouldn’t want that!

Introduction to Ausdia’s “Timing Blog”

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

We started writing this blog since there is a lack of industry detail, practical knowledge and debate about timing constraint and closure issues. Even though EDA implementation and timing signoff tools are improving in features, capacity, and runtimes, engineering teams and project managers fully realize that “timing” issues continue to be a huge bottleneck in the implementation and closure of complex SOC/ASIC chips. There is a huge gap between tool “capabilities” and outcomes – often, based on experience of the engineers and managers involved. There is no training program for constraint development that we know of – it’s just hands-on experience based, and can often be viewed as a “black-art”.

We will describe, at least twice a month, critial timing constraint or closure issues we face today or have faced in the past, and how they have gotten addressed. This information comes straight from the front-lines of timing verification in some of Silicon Valley’s most demanding and complicated ASIC/COT designs.

Sometimes we will take a step back and look at the more global picture of timing verification. And sometimes, we will relate these problems to features of our software, TimeVision, which is intended to solve a lot of the issues timing engineers struggle with today.

We hope to make this blog informative, insightful and sometimes contentious. We hope you enjoy reading it and welcome your comments and discussions, even if you don’t agree with us!

Upcoming articles

  • • Handling design and constraint changes without working 100 hours a week
  • • How to analyze false paths between clocks & domains faster
  • • Five critical issues in developing block IO timing constraints
  • • Virtual clocks – is it love, or is it hate?
  • • How to interpret “it’s a false path, but ….” without needing a lifetime supply of Rogaine
  • • Why I’d take OCV derated hold over hold margin any day