As design cycles for consumer electronics gear and communications devices quicken, design services companies have been bolstering their IP offerings to round out basic system-on-chip (SoC) platforms into which clients plug a proprietary block.
Unichip is targeting mobile phones, digital cameras and multimedia players with its H.264 block, and also sees demand from designers of surveillance and videoconferencing systems. The Unichip H.264 block is a synthesizable RTL core, and as part of an Amba-based platform, comes with an Amba High-Performance Bus wrapper, video output module and AV-Sync. The IP block conforms to the baseline profile, levels 1-3, which is typically used for mobile applications or videoconferencing, such as DVB-H-based TV or Internet Protocol TV. The codec block supports resolutions up to 720 x 576 pixels (D1), bit rates up to 8 Mbits/second and frame rates up to 30 frames/s at 60 MHz.
Faraday is also releasing updates to its platform, known as miniIP, in order to moderate the impact of embedded memory on an SoC's size. Today, memory often accounts for about 50 percent of an SoC. With that in mind, Faraday is adding an ultralow-power single-port SRAM compiler, called miniRAM, and a ROM compiler, called miniViaROM. Compared with UMC's generic 0.18-micron SRAM, the miniRAM offering saves more than 70 percent in ac power and 13 percent in die size, the company said, while the ROM choice achieves a 55 percent ac power savings.
Faraday's miniRAM (FSA0A_D_SL) and miniViaROM (FSA0A_D_SP) are available in UMC's 0.18-micron GII process. Other parts of the miniIP platform, such as a standard-cell library, general-purpose I/Os, phase-locked loop and diffusion ROM, are now available on 0.13 micron. They originally were developed for 0.18 micron to suit designers still wary of transitioning to 0.13.