GlobalFoundries Teams Up with Cyclos to Speed Up ARM Cortex-A15 Designs

Customers of GlobalFoundries Will Be Able to Add Resonant Clock Mesh to 28nm ARM Chips

by Anton Shilov
02/06/2013 | 06:18 AM

 

 

GlobalFoundries and Cyclos Semiconductor, the inventor of resonant clock mesh (RCM) technology for commercial chip designs, have announced plans to implement Cyclos’ RCM in ARM Cortex-A15 processors using 28nm HKMG process technology from GlobalFoundries. The resonant clock mesh will help to boost clock-speeds of appropriate chips without increasing power consumption.

Cyclos RCM IP is a unique and differentiating technology that reduces the power consumed in clock meshes, the clock distribution networks that have been used in high-performance processors for years. Cyclos employs on-chip inductors to create an electric pendulum, or “tank circuit,” formed by the large capacitance of the clock mesh and the Cyclos inductors. The Cyclos inductors and clock control circuits “recycle” clock power instead of dissipating it on every clock cycle like in a conventional clock network implementation, which results in a reduction in total IC power consumption.

The partnership will enable GlobalFoundries’ customers to design next-generation SoCs with class-leading performance and power efficiency. It also reflects Cyclos’ commitment to ensure the broadest possible availability of its RCM IP technology for reducing power consumption.

“Cyclos’ advanced clock mesh technology has already been used to demonstrate reduced power consumption while maintaining high clock speeds with our HKMG process. Now the powerful combination of our 28nm HKMG process and Cyclos’ RCM technology will be available to a broader customer base, thereby enabling them to push the envelope of PPA efficiency for ARM processor-based SoC designs at the leading edge,” said Srinivas Nori, director of SoC innovation at GlobalFoundries.

Implementing inductors on-chip to resonate a clock mesh is a simple idea with complex implementation requirements. Cyclos has commercialized over 10 years of research to produce resonant clock mesh design solutions that meet all the testability, reliability, dynamic frequency scaling, and quality assurance requirements of today’s ICs.

GlobalFoundries and Cyclos are now partnering to make RCM technology available for the first time ever to the ARM ecosystem. The low clock-skew, power-saving clock distribution technology from Cyclos will be deployed to achieve uniquely differentiating power, performance and area (PPA) metrics on ARM Cortex-A15 processors based on GlobalFoundries 28nm-SLP and 28nm-HPP process technologies to serve both the high-end mobility and low-power micro-server segments.

“This partnership represents a major milestone for Cyclos Semiconductor. We believe that RCM design will be a key enabler for GHz+ embedded processor IP blocks in next-generation SoCs that also require ultra-low power consumption. We are looking forward to making this technology available to GlobalFoundries’ customers through the development of RCM-based ARM Cortex-A15 cores. We are also eager to expand RCM deployment into SoC designs via design automation tools currently under development at Cyclos,” said Marios Papaefthymiou, founder and president of Cyclos Semiconductor.