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Embedded Systems: Hardware, Design and Implementation by Krzysztof Iniewski

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12

Software Modeling Approaches for Presilicon System Performance Analysis

KENNETH J. SCHULTZ and FREDERIC RISACHER

12.1 INTRODUCTION

Good-bye mainframes, and so long to server farms. Due to the economic driver of sheer market size, the smartphone is today’s highest performing digital platform. Users have become conditioned to expect a single device to provide them with best in-class experiences for multiple functions that were formerly performed by single-function consumer electronics: computers, multimedia players, cameras, navigational devices, gaming consoles, and the list goes on. Moreover, consumers further expect the humble smartphone to provide all that exceptional functionality in the palms of their hands, running cool without fans, and without the need to plug into a power source, ideally for days. Welcome to the design problem faced by mobile handheld device architects.

The epicenter of this performance cyclone is the application processor (AP), the central processing unit (CPU) that is the hub to the various user and radio interfaces. The AP is sometimes integrated together with the baseband modem functionality into a combo chip referred to as a baseband processor (BP), though at the high end, these two functions are usually handled by separate chips. No matter the system partitioning, processing demands on the AP are driving architectures toward approaches like multicore, multimemory controller, heterogeneous graphics processing units (GPU), and other dedicated multimedia ...

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