By Kevin K. Yee
VP of Marketing
Arasan Chip Systems
BEER, BEER, who doesn't like
BEER?!?! Don't you wish it were that easy to make a decision...you
like beer, you need the IP, why not? Wouldn't life be great
if you could make all your IP decisions that way. All gimmicks
aside, we all know that you wouldn't choose who to get your IP from
based on free beer (or at least most of you wouldn't). Like
choosing the right beer, choosing the right IP vendor for your SoC design
is a critical part of the design process. So what's the best
way to decide?
Unfortunately these days, anyone
with a laptop, a little HDL knowledge, a garage to sit in and an internet
connection to post on the web and you're an IP provider. Choosing
the right vendor is getting harder and harder. Fortunately, I'm
here to tell you that there are still good IP providers for your design
The Design Challenge:
It only starts with the IP.
Today it is about more than
just the IP itself - it is about a relationship or partnership with
the IP vendor. As designs get more and more complicated and current
SoC designs become true systems on a chip, designers are looking for
a "Total IP Solution". You need the ability to customize and
easily integrate various IP blocks into your existing system.
Beyond that you need the ability to verify the IP block as a stand-alone
block as well as in your system. You want the ability to begin
your software development in conjunction with the hardware and test
it as a whole. Designers need the following:
level IP core (no encryption)
for IP verification (VIP)
for system verification (VIP)
to accelerate development
Kits (HDK) for HW/SW co-development
Platforms (HVP) for interoperability testing
to customize the IP for specific system requirements
- help from real architects/designers
And on top of all that, design
engineers need to know that they have access to real engineers that
can support them during the design process - that personal touch -
because nothing is ever easy. How do you minimize risk and guarantee
success? Make sure you are getting a "Total IP Solution".
The Arasan Solution:
A "Total IP Solution"
A "Total IP Solution" is
about understanding all the components needed for a successful chip
development and fitting them all together into a perfect puzzle. It's
not just about having some Verilog or VHDL code for sale.
It may start with the IP but
it requires a great deal more for a successful chip development.
Even before the IP, you need to talk architecture and understand how
the IP fits into the system. Once you have the IP you will likely
need to customize it for the bus interface or for differentiated features
and functions. The IP addresses the initial design phase of key
blocks, but as a designer you know that integration is the next big
step. Once integration is complete, the real work starts with
the verification and validation stage. Integrating the block and
making sure it works in the system the way you want is critical.
Now let's not forget about software development and having it work
correctly with the hardware. Designing a chip is not a simple
A vendor that can provide a
"Total IP Solution" is a partner that helps to minimize your risk
and provides a path to success. A partner that can provide not
only the IP, but understands the architecture, provides custom design
services, a verification environment, a hardware and software platform
and direct support from design engineers, is the kind of vendor you
A Level Deeper
Looking beyond the fundamental
deliverables, you ultimately have to dive down deeper to evaluate the
IP and the vendor itself. This is where you need to look at three
Breadth of Products:
Key markets & industry compliant standards
Depth of Knowledge:
Do you know what you are talking about?
Quality of Implementation:
Does it do what it's supposed to do?
Breadth of Products
Ideally, if you can get everything
you want and need from a single vendor, it would make life easier.
Realistically, that is usually not the best choice and rarely is it
possible. Having to live in reality, you really want to strike
the best balance. Find a partner who is focused in key technologies
or markets that can provide complementary IP cores for your system.
At Arasan Chip System, we have
focused on standards based compliant IP cores in the mobile and portable
multimedia market. With specific focus on mobile system architecture,
memory storage controllers, connectivity and bus interfaces, we are
the only game in town if you are looking for a MIPI solution.
By providing highly integrated and differentiated solutions, we provide
added value to our customers. See www.arasan.com
Depth of Knowledge
Clearly it is important that
your vendor knows what they are talking about. What you don't
want is someone who is just peddling their wares. You want to
make sure that they are a technology and solutions leader. They
should have domain expertise because part of what you are licensing
is their experience. They should posses the following:
Members in the specification
Leadership in the
a IP block level
a systems level (usage model - how will it be used)
At Arasan Chip Systems, we
are not only members of the specification organizations, but actively
involved in many of them. This gives us the advantage of being
one of the first to know, the first to design and the first to market.
We don't resell other's IP rather we are proud that we design our
own so we know it well.
Finally, when evaluating your
partners, you need to determine how usable it is for your design environment.
Does it provide the flexibility you need or the features and functions?
(native or with a wrapper)
If it is hard to use and hard
to integrate then the value of the IP diminishes quickly. That
is why we have realized that having the ability to customize the interface
for our customers has been one of our greatest strengths, thus our tag
line "The Bus Stops Here" Not only that, we have been able
to provide enhanced features and functions that go beyond the industry
standards, providing added value and differentiation.
Choosing an IP vendor is not
an easy choice. On paper, anything can look good. But I
urge you to do your homework because it can save you a great deal of
pain and heartache. We at Arasan Chip Systems know what it means
to provide a "Total IP Solution".
And finally, if you've gotten
this far in your reading...WOW! The BEER's on us...and the offer
stands - Free BEER with any IP!
With over 18 yrs. experience
in the technology market, Kevin K. Yee is the Vice President of Marketing
for Arasan Chip Systems, where he is responsible for the company's
strategic marketing and business direction. Prior to joining ACS,
he held several senior engineering, sales and marketing management positions
at QuickLogic and Ford Aerospace (currently Lockheed Martin) as well
as some time in consulting. Kevin holds several patents in device
architecture and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University
of California, Davis.