The Benefits of a Physical Design Flow & Methodology

Physical Implementation Apr 1, 2016 9:44:13 AM

Apr 1, 2016 9:44:13 AM



A key element in both the technical success and final cost of an RTL2GDSII engagement is the quality of the design methodology & flow that is used. Engineering processes that are reliable and repeatable are at the heart of every successful project engagment.

In this blog we look at Sondrel's Helium 8 build tool to illustrate the benefits that a refined methodology and flow delivers to customers for their physical design requirements.

Helium 8 rtl2gdsII Build Tool

The illustration above shows the structure of Helium 8. Alongside Helium, Sondrel follows a design methodology, Neon,  a 5 step process that takes the project from a discovery phase, through a series of flow and trial gates, onto an implementation stage, and then to a finishing and ECO stage. 




Trial implementations are performed on the design deliverables from the customer and measured against the Helium 8 entry criteria. Then, working closely with the customer, feedback is provided via the management system, so helping to improve the quality of the RTL and power and timing constraints.

The internal design flow will be refined by the engineering team to enable implementation of the design and the power targets. This includes aspects such as floor-planning, power routing, clock tree implementation, timing closure and physical closure activities, both at the block and top level.

Helium 8 deploys toolbox functions and pre-shaped flow examples that are optimised for various EDA flows (Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, Cadence, Ansys), library vendors (ARM, Synopsys, Avago, TSMC, UMC, etc...), and technology nodes (down to 14nm). Here is an overview of its capabilities:

  • Bespoke flow and conventions, with revision control support
  • Advanced toolbox or scripts templates, to boost the original EDA reference flows
  • Easy to configure, portable on different technologies, and interoperable with existing client flows
  • Detailed checkpoint auditing functions, to enhance the visibility of the project status and the predictability
  • Automated incoming checks, to validate the integration of the intellectual properties of the SOC
  • Interactive GUI gives visualization for improved project management efficiency 


You need a methodology and flow for your ic design that will manage project risk, gives you visibility of your project status and that is configurable to deal with project specific Power Performance and Area Targets. 

  • Tool independent – can utilise best in class EDA option at each stage in the flow
  • Configurable for differing Price Performance Area priorities (PPA)
  • Manages project risk, specifying and controlling the design tasks

  • An Interactive GUI that gives visualization for improved project management efficiency


Thank you for reading our blog post! You can read more about Sondrel's Helium 8 on the company website, or you can download a technical datasheet prepared by the engineering team.

 Click Here to Download Datasheet



Physical Implementation

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