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OneNAND controller IP optimizes data flow in handsets

Posted: 12 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:onenand memory? denali software? samsung electronics? system-on-chip? soc?

Designers in the consumer electronics sector will now have access to intellectual property (IP) that enables them to quickly install OneNAND memory in their product designs.

Denali Software Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd have formed another partnership. This time, they are working together to develop and deliver IP that will enable fast deployment of OneNAND interfaces for SoC designs. OneNAND is a single-die chip with a standard NOR flash interface using NAND flash array.

Their first product is Denali's databahn OneNAND controller, which is being introduced globally this month. Under the terms of the deal, Denali is responsible for developing and supporting OneNAND flash controller IP, and Samsung will have a limited number of Databahn IP products available to its customers at no charge.

Customers can also buy the controller as well as an integrated IP product called Dataplex from Denali. Available next month, Dataplex is designed to control both OneNAND flash and SDR/DDR DRAM memory.

Databahn IP is designed to extend the read/write performance of OneNAND for handset designs and other embedded platforms that support synchronous burst NOR memory. It will also work with designs that don't support synchronous burst NOR.

"There is a continuing explosion of data that must be stored in handheld devices and an increasing need for high-performance, low-cost devices," said Brian Gardner, VP of IP products at Denali. "Also, the read/write performance of the data storage devices is increasing with the addition of hi-res images, video and gaming."

The Databahn OneNAND controller optimizes the data flow between OneNAND and mobile DRAM in multimedia handsets that store video, images and music files. It is also suitable for digital cameras; booting embedded CPU-based applications from flash into DRAM; power down save of data and state information; hard drives with fast boot capability; and PDAs. It enables demand paging with OneNAND as the unified storage device for both code and data.

"The controller has been optimized for Samsung's new OneNAND features, such as double buffering and data ready," Gardner said. "A command queue allows for multiple outstanding commands, further improving performance."

Gardner explained that these benefits increase the bandwidth for read functionality to enhance the performance of OneNAND so that it parallels the read performance of NOR and, therein, extends overall program performance beyond that which would be possible with NAND alone.

"The flash controller will be integrated with the DRAM memory controller, which keeps the data traffic off the main system bus. Using a DMA engine, the driver is simpler and CPU overhead less," he said.

Its unique hardware interface layer makes driver certification much easier by allowing for a generic driver interface, Gardner said. Hardware handles the low-level driver adaptation. Programmable registers handle this low-level adjustment and they can be programmed automatically using Denali's SOMA file for a give device, he added.

The Databahn controller is programmable and supports NOR, NAND, and hybrid designs such as Samsung's OneNAND product. It features a 32bit AHB port to a system chip with elastic buffering between different clock domains, and a 40bit address bus to the SoC. It also has a command layer abstraction or protocol address mapping to simplify firmware drivers and improve performance, he said.

Other key attributes include a low-power, synthesizable physical interface (PHY) and clock gating logic to lower standby power.

Samsung and Denali are no strangers. In September 2004, the companies announced a collaborative effort to develop advanced verification models for OneNAND flash devices. Hardware engineers used the models to simulate the detailed interaction between mobile handset designs and the OneNAND Flash devices at the pre-silicon stage of chip design and verification.

The companies did not provide pricing information. However, they are planning an open Webcast on August 17 to discuss Databahn OneNAND controller IP. For information about the Webcast, visit Denali's website.

- Ismini Scouras


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