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Design News, February 2013

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fabric platform. A CSSP is different from an FPGA in that a CSSP is a customized product, but uses an off-the-shelf silicon platform. As such, all the customization is done for the OEM — once the specification is agreed upon, the CSSP provider implements the solution and then assists the OEM with integration and test to ensure success. In contrast, using an FPGA requires OEMs to employ a completely separate development system, invest in extensive design work, add steps in manufacturing for programming the silicon, and manage additional complexity during system startup. A CSSP gives OEMs the agility to bring features to market quickly without the complexity or delays associated with other technologies.This flexibility enables OEMs to offer unique, application-specific functionality that differentiates their processor from its competition. In addition, the cost, board space, and power savings of using an application processor plus CSSP make it an efficient option. tiple Secure Access Module (SAM) controllers to connect to different smart card systems. For these applications, QuickLogic has created reference designs to provide additional UART and SAM controllers to their application processors via SDIO.The programmable fabric inside the CSSP enables flexible configurations to match the CSSP interface to the processor as well as adjust the number of UARTs and SAMs supported. Designing a CSSP One of the key benefits of a CSSP to OEMs is that they don't have to design the device themselves. Silicon vendors, too, don't want to be burdened with committing design personnel to creating a companion chip. However, they also don't want to be occupied with creating variants of a chip for secondary markets when they could be focused on next-generation processor designs. The CSSP design process, because of its programmable fabric foundation, enables a short design cycle built upon established libraries called proven system blocks (PSBs). Designing a CSSP begins with the silicon manufacturer and OEM co-defining the architecture and functionality that the CSSP needs to provide.The specification is then built by a Use Case: Sitara AM335x To understand how a CSSP can impact market response to an application processor vendor, consider the Sitara AM335x from Texas Instruments.This general-purpose ARM-based processor offers the performance and ease-of-design required for a wide range of embedded applications. However, for applications like Figure 1a scanners, security cameras, and machine vision, it lacks a standard camera interface Master Master Connect Processor A Processor B (CAM IF). Developers have the option of Interface using a USB-based image sensor, but this is less than ideal given that the AM335x has limited USB ports that are required for other functions. Also, USB image sensors are more costly and consume substantially more power than CAM IF-based sensors. Figure 1b By creating a CSSP that bridges the AM335x's GPMC interface with an Master Master image sensor's CAM IF, the processor Processor A Processor B gains an extended market scope.The CSSP= CSSP supports 720-pixel resolution at 30 Bridge frames/s, and up to 5-Mpixel resolution at 6 frames/s, while consuming less power than an equivalent USB-based camera sensor. In addition, no additional software development is required to implement the Figure 1c CSSP into the design. For applications such as portable data Master Master Processor A Processor B terminals, most Sitara and OMAP processors don't have enough UARTs to support CSSP= the various peripherals or modules (i.e., Shared Memory ID barcode, Bluetooth, GPS, RS-232, RF, Figure 1: Most processor interfaces serve only as masters, preventing two processors from IrDA, etc.) these devices require. Similarly, communicating directly (a). Using a CSSP, developers can implement either an interface bridge (b) or shared memory channel (c) between processors to match the application's performance. point-of-sale (POS) terminals need mulDesign News | february 2013 | www.d esign n ews.com –43–

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