Television systems are entering a new and revolutionary era. Higher resolution video, vastly expanded services, and new AI-powered functions will drive user demand and unit growth. While this is exciting for end-consumers, it also represents a significant challenge for SoC designers. With the added complexity of these features designed into TV systems, engineering teams are searching for the right balance between cost and functionality, while providing an excellent user experience and shortening the time to market.
Novatek, a leading fabless chip design company and longtime partner of Arm, knows this full well from its experience delivering a wide range of display driver ICs and multimedia SoCs. In response to the increased complexity demanded by 4K DTV systems, Novatek recently became the first company to tape out a digital television SoC using Arm’s Artisan physical IP based on the TSMC 22ULP (Ultra Low Power) process node.
It is an exciting milestone in a long and successful partnership between Arm and Novatek. Novatek has been using Arm cores and Arm Artisan Physical IP in multiple SoC generations, ranging from 40nm to 22nm to deliver winning products to the DTV market. With an eye to the future, the next Novatek SoC will combine the benefits of POP IP along with Arm cores in a big.LITTLE configuration further elevating its competitiveness in the DTV marketplace.
TSMC 22nm ULP and ULL (Ultra Low Leakage) technologies offer optimized and simplified migration path from TSMC 28HPC+. The SoC design teams can also make a larger geometric jump to reap even more benefits when they move from 40nm or 55nm into one of the two TSMC 22nm variations.
In May 2018, Arm announced the partnership with TSMC for the 22nm ULP and ULL platforms which include foundry-sponsored memory compilers. The complementary products to those compilers are ultra-high-density and high-performance standard cell libraries with power-management kits, and thick-gate oxide cells to help optimize for leakage power. The General Purpose I/O (GPIO) solutions round out a complete foundation IP offering. More details can be found at our recent blog about TSMC 22ULL/ULP offerings.
Novatek took advantage of this new technology opportunity quickly. Through the POP IP package on TSMC 22nm ULP, Novatek is able to get best-in-class power, performance and area (PPA) for the Arm CPU cores and deliver the first 4K DTV SoC in 22nm technology.
“Over the years, the partnership with Arm has enabled us to deliver the truly innovative SoCs into the growing and competitive 4K TV market,” said Novatek Executive J. H. Chang, general manager, I-Home Business Unit. “The complete implementation solution from Arm is geared towards achieving best-in-class PPA for the Arm CPU cores. Through the development of custom memory instances and reference flow methodologies and aligning with our EDA flows, Arm’s POP IP enables us to bring our products to market with the fastest turn-around time”
The primary focus for the digital television market is to enhance user experience which would inevitably make SoCs become larger and more complex in 4K TV design. Arm’s big.LITTLE architecture with Arm POP IP allows design teams to deftly balance performance, power and cost tradeoffs to deliver optimal solutions to their customers. This type of approach and partnership eases design efforts and accelerates time to market. In addition, partners such as Novatek can further leverage Arm technical know-how through free on-site support via POP landing team, and bring their new designs to market with the fastest turn-around time.
We’re in the business of helping our partners succeed. Reach out to us or to me directly for physical IP and POP IP for your design needs today. We are ready! Are you ready?
Nice blog Kiran.. It was an enriching experience to accommodate Novatek's requirements on TSMC 22nm and make them succeed !