soft core

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soft core

A block of digital logic that is designed to be implemented in an ASIC or FPGA chip. A soft core is typically delivered in RTL, which is a hardware description language that defines logic at a higher level than a "hard core," which is at the gate level. A chip design may comprise one or more soft cores combined with one or more hard cores along with other blocks of user-defined logic. Occasionally, soft cores are delivered as gate-level netlists or schematics rather than RTL.

Soft Cores in ASICs
For ASIC chips, the RTL soft core and other RTL associated with the design are synthesized into a gate-level netlist. Based on the netlist, the logic gates are placed and routed and then turned into photomasks to make the chip. The ultimate realization of the soft core is hardwired logic gates formed of transistors and their interconnections.

Soft Cores in FPGAs
With FPGAs, the resulting netlist is used to generate a configuration file that will be used to program the lookup tables and configurable logic blocks inside the device. See core, hard core, netlist, ASIC and FPGA.

How Soft Cores Fit In
Soft cores delivered in RTL are the first stage of circuit development. This chart illustrates an ASIC chip. With FPGAs, the microprocessor core and other IP blocks are already in place. Consequently, instead of a gate-level netlist, a lookup table/configurable logic block (LUT/CLB) netlist is created, and the final output for FPGAs is a configuration file rather than GDSII files.
References in periodicals archive ?
The adoption of programmable logic in embedded designs is shortening development cycles considerably and Altera is pioneering a new frontier in programmable logic with the Nios soft core embedded processor," said Neil Henderson, president of Accelerated Technology, Inc.
Procurement of 45,674,117 cartridges 9 mm x 19 Weichken to Verschuss of arms P1, P7, P8A1, P8, P30, P9A1, MP2 and MP5 with low environmental impact (lead and barium) Primer and completely encapsulated soft core projectile until 30.
The M8051Warp soft core is binary-compatible with the industry standard 8051 8-bit microcontroller and can achieve a performance of up to 50 million instructions per second in today's integrated circuit technologies.
The system also offers engineers an existing inventory of soft core products that can be downloaded immediately.
Inventra's innovative business model, the "Virtual Library," provides all Alcatel engineers with worldwide access to the entire catalog of more than 100 tool-independent Inventra Soft Cores.
dQdt's Viterbi decoder soft core not only achieved the coding performance we required, but also allowed us the flexibility to receive an implementation compact enough to meet our prototyping constraints.
By connecting a software debugger to a CPU or digital signal processor (DSP) modeled either as a soft core mapped into the emulator or a logic tile/hard core mounted on a module inside the system, ZeBu-XL performs at several MHz speed.
It enables designers to implement simple embedded processor systems based on the easy to use UltraController(TM), the advanced PowerPC(TM) or the soft core MicroBlaze(TM).
And because the SEM can be implemented in a variety of "media" such as an FPGA or gate array, HyWire's soft core customers can use an FPGA solution from Xilinx for low-volume, cost-sensitive designs.
The company's HyCognito(TM) family of products are soft core and embedded-array based versions of HyWire's Search Engine Managers (SEMs) - deterministic hardware processing devices, specialized to perform the company's patented algorithms and capable of running up to 400 million searches per second (Msps).