This is a new brick that Synopsys brings to build FD-SOI credibility. We have talked at Semiwiki about FD-SOI technology developed by the LETI and STM, and recently endorsed by Samsung Foundry, offering a more than credible second source to STM. And we have said that the FD-SOI introduction will need to be supported by EDA and IP vendors to be successful. The announcement that Synopsys design flow support of 28-nm FD-SOI technology has been extended to Samsung: this simply means that SoC designers will benefit from all the design tools they need along the flow to generate a production ready IC design in GDSII format!
Let first take a look at the Galaxy™ Design Platform, a comprehensive solution for cell-based and custom IC implementation, Galaxy RTL and Physical implementation products concurrently balance design constraints by performing intelligent tradeoffs between speed, area, power, test and yield. Galaxy Signoff engines accurately model complex physical interactions to ensure signal and power integrity. Thus, SoC designers targeting 28nm FD-SOI can use the same design flow that they may use when targeting bulk or FinFET technologies.
Lynx Design System is built to accept various technology plug-in (left side of the picture). A technology plug-in using ST’s 28-nm FD-SOI Process Design Kit (PDK), standard cells and memories, adapts the production-proven Galaxy Design Platform-based RTL-to-GDSII flow for 28-nm FD-SOI SoC designs, accelerating project setup and execution. Lynx automation simplifies and accelerates many critical implementation and validation tasks.
A technology plug-in using ST’s 28-nm FD-SOI Process Design Kit (PDK), standard cells and memories, adapts the production-proven Galaxy Design Platform-based RTL-to-GDSII flow for 28-nm FD-SOI SoC designs, accelerating project setup and execution. Lynx automation simplifies and accelerates many critical implementation and validation tasks. “The close collaboration between ST design teams and Synopsys led to advanced silicon-proven design enablement solutions that fully leverage the performance and power promise of FD-SOI technology and provide the foundation needed to meet tight time to market windows,” said Philippe Magarshack, executive vice president, Design Enablement and Services, STMicroelectronics. “Our close collaboration with Synopsys has already enabled many successful tapeouts with mutual customers using Synopsys’ Galaxy Design Platform and Lynx Design System.”
The important word here is « foundation ». Before starting integrating CPU or DSP cores, the design team need to benefit from a complete and automated design environment, which is the case. It will be interesting to monitor the progress made by Synopsys in delivering FD-SOI proven DesignWare IP (Interfaces PHY for USB, PCIe, SATA, HDMI, the MIPI D-PHY and M-PHY, the DDR4 and LPDDR4 PHY, as well as ADC or DAC). We have highlighted in a previous post that STMicroelectronics tend to develop this type of IP, but the license agreement with Samsung does NOT includes these IP. Thus, these FD-SOI related IP represent a new segment for IP vendors like Synopsys, a TAM extension if you prefer. The right question, as of today, is whether Synopsys will port these existing above mentioned mixed-signal IP from bulk to FD-SOI straight away, or if the IP vendor will decide on a case by case basis, basing the decision on customer demand…
The comment from Dr. Shawn Han, vice president of foundry marketing, Samsung Electronics is interesting as it perfectly summarizes what was written in Semiwiki about the FD-SOI option : “28-nm FD-SOI is an ideal solution for customers looking for extra performance and power efficiency at the 28-nm node without having to migrate to 20-nm. Our close collaboration with Synopsys and ST will enable designers to reduce risk, accelerate time-to-market, minimize power and maximize performance to expand 28-nm FD-SOI adoption.”
The Synopsys Galaxy Design Platform and Lynx Design System with support for ST and Samsung 28-nm FD-SOI process technology are available now from Synopsys. The 28-nm FD-SOI-enabled PDK, standard cells and memories for early design are available now from Samsung.