A variety of common hardware compliance issues can wreak havoc on your design and its schedule. For example, some defects often seen during bring up include:
- An OS that fails to boot, crashes, or hangs
- Invalid PCIe hierarchy, or lack of a root port
- Incorrect Enhanced Configuration Access Mechanism (ECAM) and devices not discovered
- Endpoint interoperability issues
- CPU writes with certain byte enables that don’t work, triggering data corruption and software errors
The causes can often be traced to non-compliant hardware: non-standard PCIe ECAM, PCIe ghost devices, non-standard universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter (UART) or GIC, for example. And the impact of these issues can be quite problematic. For example, there aren’t firmware workarounds available for systems with extensive PCIe hierarchies, security updates tend to be limited for custom OS distributions, and Windows servers and clients won’t work with non-compliant PCI ECAM. The good news is these issues can all be identified and prevented early in the design cycle. This is where pre-silicon BSA compliance testing comes into play.
Pre-silicon BSA compliance testing provides:
- Complete BSA compliance coverage before tapeout
- Prevention of costly silicon re-spins and software workarounds
- A well-defined and low-risk path to becoming SystemReady
With development and support by Synopsys, the compliance solution integrates open-source test suites, bare-metal drivers, and exercisers (Synopsys Verification IP), providing custom stimuli and additional compliance coverage for an out-of-the-box experience. It is the industry’s only solution with built-in PCIe sub-system performance verification and analysis. Silicon partners design and verify the BSA-compliant SoC. The testing solution focuses on system-level and software-visible architectural behavior. As such, the intent is to check that architectural rules are understood and not missed, from register ID checks to functional checks and integration tests. Design verification complements this process, providing a much deeper, more comprehensive level of testing to identify bugs and corner cases.
Compliance testing can take billions of clock cycles. The only feasible platform that can handle these types of volumes is an emulator. The pre-silicon BSA compliance testing solution is built to natively support the Synopsys ZeBu® family, the industry’s fastest emulation systems. In addition, the testing solution also supports the Synopsys VCS® functional verification platform, the industry’s highest performance simulation system. Key performance metrics measured include:
- Channel throughput
- Read/write/interrupt latency
- Bandwidth utilization
With Synopsys verification technology, silicon providers can rest assured of achieving robust pre-silicon BSA coverage as well as efficient performance verification and bottleneck analysis early in the design.
Silicon partners are responsible for creating the boot code; folding the BSA and performance code, available from Synopsys, into their software libraries; and integrating the PCIe and AXI4 transactor. Partners also are expected to handle BSA and performance analysis, encompassing investigation of any errors that arise from running the test suite, analysis of performance data, and identification of any system bottlenecks.