Sonics, Inc. today introduced ICE-P3™, the IP industry’s first product to automate implementation of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS). ICE-P3 is the newest member of the ICE-Grain™ Family of Energy Processing Units (EPU) that identifies, sequences, and controls power state transitions in hardware up to 500X faster than conventional software-based approaches.
ICE-P3 includes all of the capabilities and benefits of ICE-G3– automated creation of correct by construction EPU hardware and verification environment, rapid scalability to many power grains and derivative designs, MSPS power savings metric, and power control monitoring. It also incorporates several new features that enable power management architects and chip integrators to configure EPUs that automatically control frequency and voltage in their energy-sensitive designs.
In chip subsystems with varying throughput requirements, for example CPUs and GPUs, designers using ICE-P3 can minimize average power and total energy by optimizing their circuits to operate at the minimum voltage required to deliver the desired throughput. ICE-P3’s autonomous, hardware-based control significantly reduces both dynamic switching and static leakage power components at lower operating voltage.
“ICE-P3 brings power optimization to actual operating conditions within reach of every chip designer, not just those who have the power management expertise and engineering resources to make DVFS techniques work in a software-based approach,” said Drew Wingard, CTO of Sonics. “It dramatically reduces or eliminates the design effort required to integrate temperature and process monitors together with voltage regulators and clock generators to deliver the most efficient power across a wide range of throughputs with zero software overhead. Although not required, ICE-P3 works well with Sonics NoCs and our FDXcelerator partnership gives designers further flexibility to optimize power using the unique body biasing techniques provided by Global Foundries 22FDX® process technology.”
To support voltage and frequency control with temperature and process compensation in ICE-P3, Sonics has extended the “cluster state” concept introduced in ICE-G3. Now, in addition to power states for each grain in a cluster, an operating point can include up to four independent resource states. Each resource state is mapped to temperature-compensated values for up to four voltage and/or frequency sources. ICE-P3 arbitration circuits enable multiple clusters to safely share the same voltage and/or frequency resources. ICE-P3 also provides voltage and frequency resource controllers that drive the PLL, clock generator, voltage regulator or interface to an external power management IC to request the desired resource value.
Sonics has built a customer engagement model for ICE-P3 and the entire family of ICE-Grain EPU products that represents a first for semiconductor IP vendors. The EPU Studio Configuration Trial lets designers test drive the actual IP using the EPU Studio development environment and only requires execution of a simple NDA rather than a full Evaluation License. The Trial features a fully integrated, step-by-step tutorial to help designers grasp EPU concepts while they rapidly design an EPU for an IoT sensor design in the environment.