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Moving forward with hardware emulation

Posted: 17 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nano measurement? processor? UltraSPARC T2? PCIe? hardware-based verification?

Sun Microsystems has a rich history in processor development marked by the SPARC and UltraSPARC product lines. Sun's CoolThreads technology, which is built into the latest generation UltraSPARC T2 processor, powers the Sun Fire T5220, T5120 and T6320 server family. These servers also have quite a green side by drawing about as much power as a single light bulb. While the technology is certainly cool, the verification of these products is quite challenging.

Like other companies, Sun has traditionally relied on software-based simulation for most functional verification needs. With designs becoming incredibly large, system-level integration becoming more important and HW/SW coverification becoming critical, Sun has needed to find more verification cycles or performance to keep pace with complexity.

Simulation alone did not have the bandwidth required to achieve high-level of verification confidence and reduce time-to-productize UltraSPARC T2 processor and server systems. Basically, simulation was becoming the gating factor in the development cycle, so Sun needed to supplement its verification environment.

To better understand the verification task at hand, Jai Kumar of Sun Microsystems invites us to look at the UltraSPARC T2 processor. This processor packs together the most cores and threads of any general-purpose processor available, and integrates all the key functions of a server on a single chip: computing, 1Gbit/10Gbit networking, security and PCIe I/O, plus tight integration with the Solaris OS.

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