CRITICAL-PATH FLOORPLANNING in VS .NET

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15.2 CRITICAL-PATH FLOORPLANNING
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Floorplanning is often used by designers who have very dif cult timing constraints and need to tighten their critical paths as much as possible. The oorplan in this case would be created after the nal implementation results were generated and the critical path was de ned. This information would be back-annotated to the oorplanner whereby the designer would manually de ne location constraints for the critical logic elements. These physical constraints would then be forward annotated into the place and route tool to complete an iterative cycle. Figure 15.4 illustrates the design ow when using a oorplan to constrain only critical paths.
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Figure 15.4 Design ow with critical path oorplanning.
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15.3 Floorplanning Dangers
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Figure 15.5 Example critical-path- oorplan constraints.
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In this case, the oorplanning step is not a static and unchanged step in the process as it is with a design partition but rather a key link in the iterative timing closure loop.
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When oorplanning the critical path, the oorplan is a key link in the iterative timing closure loop.
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Note that the oorplan is not modi ed until a critical path has been determined and will be modi ed during every iteration of the timing closure loop. Figure 15.5 illustrates two possible critical-path- oorplan constraints. In this example, there are no major functional partitions in the oorplan. Instead, the oorplan consists of two small regions designed to tighten the timing for two distinct critical paths in the design. These regions are created ad hoc based on the timing info that is fed back to the oorplanner and will be updated for every iteration of the timing closure loop.
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15.3 FLOORPLANNING DANGERS
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The danger in oorplanning is that if done incorrectly, it can dramatically decrease the performance of the implementation. This is because of the fact that good placement directly corresponds with a design that performs well, and bad placement directly corresponds with a design that performs poorly. This may seem like an obvious statement, but a corollary to this is that a bad oorplan will lead to bad placement and will subsequently lead to poor performance. Thus, a oorplan of any type will not have a nondecreasing impact on performance. Rather, a bad oorplan will make things much worse.
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A bad oorplan can dramatically reduce the performance of a design.
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It is important to note that not all designs lend themselves to oorplanning. Designs that are pipelined and have a very regular data ow, such as with a pipelined microprocessor, clearly lend themselves to oorplanning. Devices that implement primarily control or glue logic or that don t have any de nable major
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15 Floorplanning
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data path often do not lend themselves to a good oorplan that is intended to partition the design. If the design is indeed simply a sea of gates, then it would be optimal to allow the synthesis and place and route tools to treat it as such. One general heuristic to determine if a design is a good candidate for criticalpath oorplanning is to analyze the routing versus logic delays. If the percentage of a critical path that is consumed in routing delay is the vast majority of the total path delay, then oorplanning may assist in bringing these structures closer together and optimizing the overall routing resources and improving timing performance. If, however, the routing delay does not take up the majority of the critical-path delay and there is no clearly de nable data path, then the design may not be a good candidate for oorplanning.
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Floorplanning is a good t for highly pipelined designs or for layouts dominated by routing delay.
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For designs that may lend themselves to a good oorplan, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that the performance will actually be improved. This is discussed in the next section.
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15.4 OPTIMAL FLOORPLANNING
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The optimal oorplan will group logic structures that have direct interconnect in close proximity to one another and will not arti cially separate elements that may lie in a critical path. The following sections describe methods to optimize the oorplan.
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