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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores by Steve Leibson

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1.11. The Rise of MPSOC Design

MediaWorks’ MW301 and Cisco’s SPP are noteworthy examples of 21st-century MPSOC design. Both system designs employ processor cores extensively, preferring them to large blocks of manually designed, custom RTL (register transfer level). This preference reflects a change in SOC-design philosophy from the design style in vogue just a few years before. In the late 1990s, most SOC designs employed just one processor core. Any additional processing was performed by RTL blocks. The reason for using this older design style was, primarily, a scarcity of gates on chip. ASIC technology at the time could scarcely accommodate one processor core and its memory. Squeezing several processors onto a chip was simply out of the question. ...

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