SAN JOSE, Calif. – Sonics Inc. will release in November a new high-end network-on-chip technology geared to compete with rival Arteris Inc. SonicsGN is the company's first routed network for SoCs.
The offering comes at a time when high-end chips are skirting the boundary from multi- to many-core devices, increasingly using a variety of processor types and blocks. SGN addresses video, networking and mobile applications processors where Sonics competes with Arteris whose customers include Cavium Networks, Huawei's HiSilicon, Intel, LG, ST-Ericsson and co-development partner Texas Instruments.
SGN boosts data rates from about 400 MHz on the company's current Sonics SX products to a GHz. The technology, previously limited to chips with about 64 cores, will now handle devices with more than 200 cores.
"We were previously limited by what we could achieve in switching and spanning distances in a single clock cycle, so we used crossbars and shared buses," said Drew Wingard, chief technology officer at Sonics.
The routing architecture of SGN also enables support from Sonics for the first time for two to eight virtual channels. In addition, the new network-on-chip allows more flexible partitioning of clock and power domains in later stages of the chip design than allowed with Sonics SX.
Both Sonics and Arteris pledged in June to support ARM's Amba 4 ACE technology, geared to extend cache coherency beyond host processor clusters to include other processors and cores in an SoC. SGN fills in gaps in Amba compatibility in previous Sonic products, but does not yet support ACE which is still in a beta version from ARM, said Wingard.
SGN will carry a premium over Sonics SX but be priced in the same model using a combination of subscription or up-front fees and per-chip royalties.