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DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-1

Introduction to VLSI Design
Custom and semi custom design
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-2
IC Evolution (1/3)
• SSI – Small Scale Integration (early 1970s)
• contained 1 – 10 logic gates
• MSI – Medium Scale Integration
• logic functions, counters
• LSI – Large Scale Integration
• first microprocessors on the chip
• VLSI – Very Large Scale Integration
• now offers 64-bit microprocessors,
complete with cache memory (L1 and often L2),
floating-point arithmetic unit(s), etc.
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-3
IC Evolution (2/3)
• Bipolar technology
• TTL (transistor-transistor logic)
• ECL (emitter-coupled logic)
• MOS (Metal-oxide-silicon)
• although invented before bipolar transistor,
was initially difficult to manufacture
• nMOS (n-channel MOS) technology developed in 1970s
required fewer masking steps, was denser, and
consumed less power than equivalent bipolar ICs => an
MOS IC was cheaper than a bipolar IC and led to
investment and growth of the MOS IC market.
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-4
IC Evolution (3/3)
• aluminum gates are replaced by polysilicon by early 1980
• CMOS (Complementary MOS): n-channel and p-channel
MOS transistors =>
lower power consumption, simplified fabrication process
• Bi-CMOS - hybrid Bipolar, CMOS (for high speed)
• GaAs - Gallium Arsenide (for high speed)
• Si-Ge - Silicon Germanium (for RF)
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-5
VLSI Benefits
• Smaller Size
• Higher Performance
• Higher Functionality
• Higher Reliability
• Lower Power Consumption
• Design Security
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-6
VLSI Design Styles (1/2)
• Full-Custom ASICs
• Some (possibly all) logic cells
are customized and
all mask layers are customized
• Semicustom ASICs
• All logic cells are predesigned
(defined in cell library) and
some (possibly all) of the mask
layers are customized
• Types:
Standard-cell based and Gate-
array-based ASICs
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-7
VLSI Design Styles (2/2)
• Programmable ASICs
• All logic cells are predesigned and
none of the mask layers are customized
• Types: PLD (Programmable Logic Device) like
SPLD, CPLD, and FPGA (Field Programmable Gate
Array)

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-8
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-9
Full-custom ASICs (1/3)
• Engineers design some or all of the logic cells, circuits, or layout
specifically for one ASIC
• Full-custom ICs are the most expensive to manufacture and to
design
• Manufacturing lead time (the time it takes just to make an IC – not
including design time) is typically 8 weeks
• When does it make sense?
• there are no suitable existing cell libraries available
• existing logic cells are not fast enough
• logic cells are not small enough
• logic cells consume too much power
• ASIC is so specialized that some circuits must be custom designed
• Trends: fewer and fewer full-custom ICs are being designed
(excluding mixed analog/digital ASICs)
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-10
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-11
Full-custom ASICs (2/3)
• Each circuit element carefully “handcrafted”
• Huge design effort
• High Design & NRE Costs
• High Performance
• Until Recently, Unthinkable
Expensive Development
Risky
Special Skills
Lack of Manpower
• Justified in Only the Most Desperate Cases
• optimize design, gain maximum speed, area
• usually for large volume product, Typically used for
high-volume applications
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-12
Full-custom ASICs (3/3)
• All layers are optimized for an embedded system’s
particular digital implementation
• Placing transistors
• Sizing transistors
• Routing wires
• Benefits
• Excellent performance, small size, low power
• Drawbacks
• High NRE cost (e.g., $300k), long time-to-market

Vahid & Givargis
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-13
Semi-Custom
• Design with Pre-Designed Building Blocks
(Standard Cell)
- Low Level Design
+Minimized Needed IC Design Skills

• Uses Pre-Implemented Layout (Gate Array)
+Pre-Characterized and Tested
+Minimize Tooling
- Density Sacrifice
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-14
Standard-Cell-Based ASICs (1/5)
• Cell-Based ASIC (CBIC) uses pre-designed cells
(AND, OR gates, multiplexers, flip-flops, ...)
• Standard-cell areas are built of rows of standard cells
• Standard-cell areas can be used in combination with larger pre-
designed cells (microcontrollers, or even microprocessors), known
as mega-cells

A cell-based
ASIC (CBIC) die
with a single
standard-cell
area combined
with 4 fixed
blocks
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-15
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-16
A section of two rows in a standard-cell chip
f
1
f
2
x
1
x
3
x
2
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-17
Standard-Cell-Based ASICs(2/5)
• Characteristics
• The layout of individual gates (standard cells) is pre-
designed and stored in a library.
• custom blocks can be embedded;
ASIC designer defines only the placement of the
standard cells and the interconnect in a CBIC
• standard cells can be placed anywhere on a silicon =>
all mask layers of a CBIC are customized
• manufacturing lead time is 8 weeks
• The chip layout can be created automatically by CAD
tools because of the regular arrangement of logic gates
(cells) in rows.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-18
Standard-Cell-Based ASICs (3/5)
• Advantages
• designers save time, money, and reduce risks using a
predesigned, pretested, and precharacterized standard-cell
library
• standard cells in the library are constructed using full-custom;
each standard cell can be optimized individually
(for example, to maximize speed, minimize area, etc);
• Disadvantages
• time or expense of designing or buying the standard-cell library
• time needed to fabricate all layers of the ASIC for each new
design
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-19
Standard-Cell-Based ASICs(4/5)
• Standard-cells are designed
to fit horizontally together to form rows
• Internal construction of a cell





- 25 microns wide (lambda is 0.25)
- AB: abutment box
- BB: bounding box
- Power supplies: VDD, GND
- Each different shaded and
labeled pattern represents a
different layer
- Connections: A1, B1, Z
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-20
Standard-Cell-Based ASICs (5/5)
• Routing the CBIC





- Interconnections
between cells use
spaces (called
channels) between
rows
- 2 separate layers of
metal interconnect
(metal1 and metal2)
running at right angles
to each other
- Feedthrough: refers
either to the piece of
metal that is used to
pass a signal through
a cell or to a space in
a cell waiting to be
used as a feedthrough
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-21
Gate-Array-Based ASICs
• In gate-array-based ASIC
transistors are predefined on the silicon wafer
• Base cell – the smallest element that is replicated
• Base array – the predefined pattern of transistors
• Masked Gate Array (MGA): only layers which define the
interconnect between transistors are defined by the designer
using custom masks
• Designer chooses from a gate-array library pre-designed and
pre-characterized logic cells (often called macros)
.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-22
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-23
Gate-Array-Based ASICs (1/4)
• Since only metal interconnections are unique for MGA,
we can use prefabricated wafers
(with completed transistor layers)
• the turnaround time is reduced to a few days or at most a
couple of weeks
• the costs for all the initial prefabrication steps for MGA
are shared for each consumer => the cost of an MGA is
reduced compared to FC and CBIC
• Types: Channeled, Channelless, and Structured Gate Array
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-24
Gate-Array-Based ASICs (2/4)
• Channeled gate array
• we leave space between the rows of transistors for wiring
• Characteristics
• only interconnect is customized
• the interconnect uses predefined spaces between rows
• manufacturing lead time is between 2 days and 2 weeks

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-25
Gate-Array-Based ASICs (3/4)
• Channelless gate array (sea-of-gates
or SOG)
• there are no predefined areas set aside
for routing between cells
• we customize the contact layer that
defines the connections between metal1
and transistors
• when use area of transistor for routing,
do not make any contacts to the device
underneath
• Characteristics
• only some (the top few) mask layers
are customized – the interconnect
• Transistor layers on the silicon wafer are
first fabricated to produce a gate-array
template.
• Connecting wires are then fabricated on
the template to produce a user´s circuit.
• The technology is also known as a sea-of-
gates technology
• manufacturing lead time is
between 2 days and 2 weeks

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-26
A sea-of-gates gate array
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-27
An example of a logic function in a gate array
f
1
x
1
x
3
x
2
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-28
Gate-Array-Based ASICs (4/4)
• Structured gate array or embedded gate array
• combines features of CBIC and MGA
• motivation: MGA has only fixed gate-array base cell;
difficult and inefficient implementation of memory
• we set aside some IC area and dedicate it to a specific function
(contain different cells, more suitable for building memory cells, for
example, or complete block, such as a microcontroller)
• Characteristics
• only some (the top few) mask layers
are customized – the interconnect
• custom blocks can be embedded
• manufacturing lead time is
between 2 days and 2 weeks
• problem: embedded function is fixed
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-29
Semi-custom
• Lower layers are fully or partially built
• Designers are left with routing of wires and maybe
placing some blocks
• Benefits
• Good performance, good size, less NRE cost than a
full-custom implementation (perhaps $10k to $100k)
• Drawbacks
• Still require weeks to months to develop
Vahid & Givargis
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-30
Programmable Logic (PLDs, FPGAs)
• Pre-manufactured components with programmable
interconnect
• CAD tools greatly reduce design effort
• Low Design Cost / Low NRE Cost / High Unit Cost
• Lower Performance
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-31
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-32
Programmable Logic Devices(1/2)
• PLDs
• standard ICs, available in standard configurations
• sold in high volume to many different customers
• PLDs may be configured or programmed to create
a part customized to specific application
• Characteristics
• no customized mask layers or logic cells
• fast design turnaround
• a single large block of programmable interconnect
• a matrix of logic macrocells that usually consists of
programmable array logic followed by a flip-flop or latch
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-33
Programmable Logic Devices(2/2)
• Types of PLDs
• PROM: uses metal fuse that can be blown permanently)
• EPROM: used programmable MOS transistors whose characteristics
are altering by applying a high voltage
• PAL – Programmable Array Logic
• programmable AND logic array or AND plane,
and fixed OR plane
• PLA – Programmable Logic Array
• programmable AND plane
followed by programmable OR plane
• Depending on how
the PLD is programmed
• erasable PLD (EPLD)
• mask-programmed PLD
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-34
Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA)
• FPGA
• a step above the PLD in complexity;
it is usually larger and more complex than a PLD
• rapidly growing in importance
• Characteristics
• none of mask layers are customized
• a method for programming basic cells
and the interconnect
• the core is regular array
of programmable basic logic cells
(combinational + sequential)
• a matrix of programmable interconnect
that surrounds the basic cells
• programmable I/O cells around the core
• design turnaround is a few hours
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-35
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-36
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-37
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-38
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-39
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-40
Economics of ASICs
• Goal
• discuss the economics of using ASICs in a product and
compare the most popular types of ASICs:
an FPGA, an MGA, and a CBIC
• Warning!
• costs change rapidly and IC industry is notorious for keeping
its costs, prices, and pricing strategy closely guarded secrets,
so the numbers we will use to illustrate the different
components of cost are approximate
• Part cost
• vary enormously: from a few dollars to several hundreds
• FPGAs are more expensive per gate than MGAs
• MGAs are more expensive per gate than CBICs
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-41
VLSI Design Cycle
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-42
VLSI Design Cycle (1/9)
System Specification
Architectural Design
Logic Design
Circuit Design
Physical Design
Functional Design Fabrication
Packaging
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-43
VLSI Design Cycle (2/9)
System Specification – Specification of the size,
speed, power and functionality of the VLSI system.
Architectural Design – Decisions on the
architecture, e.g., RISC/CISC, # of ALU’s, pipeline
structure, cache size, etc. Such decisions can
provide an accurate estimation of the system
performance, die size, power consumption, etc.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-44
VLSI Design Cycle (3/9)
Functional Design – Identify main functional units
and their interconnections. No details of
implementation.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-45
VLSI Design Cycle (4/9)
Logic Design – Design the logic, e.g., boolean
expressions, control flow, word width, register
allocation, etc. The outcome is called an RTL
(Register Transfer Level) description. RTL is
expressed in a HDL (Hardware Description
Language), e.g., VHDL and Verilog.

X = (AB+CD)(E+F)
Y= (A(B+C) + Z + D)
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-46
VLSI Design Cycle (5/9)
Circuit Design – Design the circuit including gates,
transistors, interconnections, etc. The outcome is
called a netlist.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-47
VLSI Design Cycle (6/9)
• Net list:
net1: top.in1 in1.in
net2: i1.out xxx.B
topin1: top.n1 xxx.xin1
topin2: top.n2 xxx.xin2
botin1: top.n3 xxx.xin3
net3: xxx.out i2.in
outnet: i2.out top.out

• Component list:
top: in1=net1 n1=topin1
n2=topin2 n3=topine
out=outnet
i1: in=net1 out=net2
xxx: xin1=topin1 xin2=topin2
xin3=botin1 B=net2
out=net3
i2: in=net3 out=outnet

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-48
VLSI Design Cycle (7/9)
top
i1 xxx i2
Component hierarchy
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-49
VLSI Design Cycle (8/9)
Physical Design – Convert the netlist into a
geometric representation. The outcome is called a
layout.

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-50
VLSI Design Cycle (9/9)
Fabrication – Process includes lithography,
polishing, deposition, diffusion, etc., to produce a
chip.
Packaging – Put together the chips on a PCB
(Printed Circuit Board) or an MCM (Multi-Chip
Module)

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-51
VLSI Design Cycle
System Specification
Architectural
Specification
RTL in HDL
Netlist
Layout
Timing & relationship
between functional units
Chips
Packaged and
tested chips
Architectural
Design
Functional
Design
Logic
Design
Physical
Design
Fabrication
Packaging
Circuit Design
or
Logic Synthesis
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-52
VLSI Design Process
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-53
VLSI Design Process
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-54
VLSI Design Process
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-55
VLSI Design Process
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-56
The Hard Part

• A real design will have at least 1 million polygons and 100K
transistors
• Mistakes are really expensive
• A full set of masks for 0.13µ is about $600,000
• Any single error in any of the polygons can ruin the chip
• No one person can really comprehend 1 million of anything
• Much less 1 billion
• Need to attack the problem with the standard engineering tools
• Hierarchy and abstraction
• Design reuse
• Computer automation
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-57
Design Methodologies and Flows
• Left fork: Full custom
design flow
• Center fork: “Semi custom ASIC” flow
• Right fork: System on Chip
(SOC) flow
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-58
Full Custom Design Flow
• Has the best performance
• Is the most labor intensive
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-59
Schematic Capture/Simulation
• Circuit drawn at transistor,
gate, and block level
• Blocks can be recursively
placed inside one another
• Utility programs produce
netlists for simulation tools


DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-60
Layout
• Draw and place transistors for all
devices in schematic
• Rearrange transistors to
minimize interconnect length
• Connect all devices with routing
layers
• Possible to place blocks within
other blocks
• Layout hierarchy should
match schematic hierarchy


DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-61
Design Rule Checking (DRC)
• Fab has rules for relationships between polygons in
layout
• Required for manufacturability
• DRC checker looks for errors
• width
• space
• enclosure
• overlap
• Violations flagged for later fixup
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-62
Layout Versus Schematic (LVS)
• Extracts netlist from layout
by analyzing polygon
overlaps
• Compares extracted netlist
with original schematic
netlist
• When discrepancies occur,
tries to narrow down
location
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-63
Layout Parasitic Extraction (LPE)







• Estimates capacitance between structures in the layout
• Calculates resistance of wires
• Output is either a simulation netlist or a file of interblock
delays
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-64
“Semi custom ASIC” Design Flow
• Separate teams to
design and verify
• Physical design is
(semi-) automated
• Loops to get device
operating frequency
correct can be
troubling
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-65
Register Transfer Level (RTL)








• Sections of combinational Goo separated by timing
statements
• Defines behavior of part on every clock cycle boundary
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-66
Logic Synthesis
• Changes cloud of combinational
functionality into standard cells
(gates) from fab-specific library
• Chooses standard cell flip-flop/
latches for timing statements
• Attempts to minimize delay and
area of resulting logic

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-67
Standard Cell Placement and Routing
• Place layout for
each gate
(“cell”) in design
into block
• Rearrange cell
layouts to
minimize routing
• Connect up cells

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-68
System on Chip Design Flow
• Can buy “Intellectual Property” (IP) from various vendors
• “Soft IP”: RTL or gate level description
• Synthesize and Place and Route for
your process.
• Examples: Ethernet, MAC, USB
• “Hard IP”: Polygon level description
• Just hook it up
• Examples: XAUI Backplane driver,
embedded DRAM
• Also: Standard cell libraries for ASIC flow

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-69
CAD Design Flow for SPLD
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-70
FPGA Design Flow
Design Entry
Design Implementation
Design Verification
FPGA Configuration
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-71
Design Entry
Schematic HDL
Compile
Logic Equations
Minimize
Reduced
Logic Equations
(Netlist)
Test vectors
Simulation
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-72
Design Implementation
• Input: Netlist Output: bitstream
• Map the design onto FPGA resources
• Break up the circuit so that each block has
maximum n inputs
• NP-hard problem
• However, optimal solution is not required

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-73
Design Implementation (Cont.)
• Place: assigns logic blocks created during
mapping process to specific location on FPGA
• Goal: minimize length of wires
• Again NP-hard
• Route: routes interconnect paths between logic
blocks
• NP-hard
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-74
Design Implementation Techniques
• Simulated annealing
• Genetic algorithm
• Mincut method
• Heuristic method
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-75
Design Verification & FPGA Configuration
• Functional Simulation
• Timing Simulation
• Download bitstream into FPGA

DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-76
Advantages of FPLD compared with ASIC
• A reduction in development time (rapid
propotyping) by 3 to 4
• In-circuit reprogrammability
• Lower NRE costs resulting in more ecomomical
designs for solutions requiring less than 1000 units
DAVIET Digital circuit logic Design Slide-77
Comparison
Technology Performance/
Cost
Time until
running
Time to high
performance
Time to change code
functionality
ASIC Very High Very Long Very Long Impossible
FPGA Medium Medium Long Medium
ASIP/
DSP
High Long Long Long
Generic Low-Medium Very
Short
Not
Attainable
Very Short
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