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Taiwan design firms boost SoC IP offerings

Posted: 02 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Unichip? Faraday? UMC? Taiwan? IP blocks?

Design services provider Global Unichip Corp. is adding an H.264 encoder and decoder to its chest of consumer intellectual-property (IP) blocks. The product is part of Global Unichip's GPrime/UMVP-2000 design platform. At the same time, rival Faraday Technology Corp. is refining its own IP offerings with two memory compilers that reduce area and power consumption.

As design cycles for consumer electronics gear and communications devices quicken, design services companies have been bolstering their IP offerings to round out basic SoC platforms into which clients plug a proprietary block.

Unichip is targeting handsets, digital cameras and multimedia players with its H.264 block, and also sees demand from designers of surveillance and videoconferencing systems. The Unichip H.264 block is a synthesizable RTL core, and as part of an Amba-based platform, comes with an Amba High-Performance Bus wrapper, video output module and AV-Sync. The IP block conforms to the baseline profile, L1-3, which is typically used for mobile applications or videoconferencing, such as DVB-H-based TV or IPTV. The codec block supports resolutions up to 720pixels x 576pixels (D1), bit rates of up to 8Mbps and frame rates of up to 30fps at 60MHz.

Faraday is also releasing updates to its platform, known as miniIP, to moderate the impact of embedded memory on an SoC's size. Today, memory often accounts for about 50 percent of an SoC. With that in mind, Faraday is adding an ultralow-power single-port SRAM compiler, called miniRAM, and a ROM compiler, called miniViaROM. Compared with UMC's generic 0.18?m SRAM, the miniRAM offering saves more than 70 percent in AC power and 13 percent in die size, the company said, while the ROM choice achieves a 55 percent AC power savings.

Faraday's miniRAM and miniViaROM are available in UMC's 0.18?m GII process. Other parts of the miniIP platform, such as a standard-cell library, general-purpose I/Os, PLL and diffusion ROM, are now available on 0.13?m. They originally were developed for 0.18?m to suit designers still wary of transitioning to 0.13?m.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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