5.3. Extensible Processors as an Alternative to RTL

Hardwired RTL design has many attractive characteristics: small area, low power, and high throughput. However, the liabilities of RTL—difficult design, slow verification, and poor scalability to complex problems—are starting to dominate. A design methodology that retains most of the efficiency benefits of RTL but with reduced design time and risk has a natural appeal. Application-specific processors as a replacement for complex RTL fit this need.

5.3.1. The Origins of Configurable Processors

The concept of building new processors quickly to fit specific needs is almost as old as the microprocessor itself. Architects have long recognized that high development costs, particularly for design verification ...

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