Timing storm

A new family of verification products from Simplex Solutions enable chip designers to determine the impact of signal-integrity effects on path delays with greater accuracy and speed than ever before.

SignalStorm SoC, as the family is called, delivers accuracy to within 2% of SPICE with runtimes 4 to 20 times faster than other solutions while consuming 80% less system memory. As a result, SignalStorm SoC enables designers to achieve timing convergence more quickly, conserving valuable engineering resources and speeding time to market.

The SignalStorm SoC technology has already been employed by Simplex’s SoC Design Foundry team to ensure first-pass timing closure and first-silicon success for 19 production designs for customers such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

‘The ability of Simplex’s SignalStorm SoC technology to calculate delay to within 2% of SPICE, at gate-level speed, played an important role in first-pass timing closure for our Graphics Synthesizer I-32 chip,’ said Hidetaka Magoshi, vice president of system LSI design at Sony Computer Entertainment. ‘SignalStorm SoC’s accurate timing characterisation and hierarchical delay calculation were two of the main technologies applied in the design methodology that enabled delivery of this chip’s physical design in just 10 weeks.’

As semiconductor process geometries continue to shrink, ever-thinner wires are packed more and more tightly together, producing unintended electrical effects, such as capacitance coupling, that impair signal integrity. These complex signal-integrity effects have a profound effect on path delays and design timing. As process geometries move to 0.13-micron and below, signal-integrity timing issues have become a primary concern, as they impede timing convergence, consume engineering resources and result in needless over-engineering, overly constrained designs and costly schedule delays.

Designers use SignalStorm SoC as part of their timing flow to calculate path delays accurately, accounting for signal-integrity timing effects such as propagation delay and crosstalk effects. SignalStorm SoC also incorporates instance-based IR-drop data from Simplex’s VoltageStorm SoC, to account for the effects of IR drop on path delays. This capability becomes critical at 0.13-micron and below, where power supplies are typically in the 1.2V range, and even small voltage drops can compromise signal timing and lead to chip failures.

Simplex’s SignalStorm SoC signal-integrity timing solution is available now in a variety of package configurations and library options. Pricing starts at $50,000.

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