AN1090 NoBL The Fast SRAM Architecture.pdf

NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
Associated Project: No
Associated Part Family: All NoBL™ SRAMs
Software Version: None
Related Application Notes: None
AN1090 describes the operation of NoBL™ SRAMs and outlines how it is suitable for networking applications.
NoBL SRAM Operation
equipments and networking applications demand highspeed memories. The type of memory required is
determined by the system architecture, the application,
and the processor used. System performance suffers if the
memory sub-system cannot satisfy the processor
The timing diagram of a Pipelined NoBL SRAM in a
Read/Write/Read/Write sequence is illustrated in Figure 1.
This application note describes the Cypress NoBL SRAMs
sub-system performance.
NoBL SRAM Description
NoBL stands for No Bus Latency. NoBL SRAMs have
been specially designed to eliminate the bus turn around
delay associated with switching between Read and Write
operations. These devices are also known by different
trademark name zero bus turnaround (ZBT).
NoBL architecture eliminates the number of unused (or
‘dead’) cycles on the bus between Read and Write
operations thereby improving bus utilization to 100 percent
making it suitable for networking applications, which have
frequent READ/WRITE transitions.
NoBL SRAMs are offered in two flavors namely Pipelined
and Flow through. The Pipelined option is suitable for
applications where frequency is a critical and Flow-through
option is suitable for applications where latency is critical.
In clock cycle #1, the address for a read access is latched
into the SRAM. Because of the internal pipeline register,
the SRAM provides data in clock cycle #3. The write
access can be initiated in clock cycle #2 as shown. The
write data for the corresponding address is provided in
clock cycle #4. All accesses are completely symmetrical
(three clock cycles to complete a READ or WRITE).
Therefore all accesses can be fully pipelined with no cycle
lost between a read and a write.
The timing diagram of a Flow-through NOBL SRAM is
shown in Figure 2. A read operation is initiated in cycle #1
and the SRAM drives the data in cycle #2. A write
operation can be initiated in cycle #2 and the
corresponding data provided in cycle #3. As is the case
with Pipelined NOBL SRAM, both read and write
operations take the same number of cycles (two cycles for
read or write). NoBL SRAMs use a signal, the
pin (ADV/ ). When ADV/
is asserted
LOW, a Read or Write command is given to the SRAM,
depending upon the state of the Read/Write pin (
). A
Deselect command may also be executed if one of the
three chip enables is inactive. When ADV/
is HIGH, a
burst command is performed. For NoBL SRAM a write
operation is performed by using a
pin and Byte Write
) signals.
For pipelined option, the data read from the SRAM is
available two cycles after the address is clocked in. For
flow-through option, the data read from the SRAM is
available as single cycle after the address is clocked in;
there is a single cycle between address and data.
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NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
Figure 1. Pipelined NoBL SRAM Timing Diagram
Figure 2. Flow-through NoBL Timing Diagram
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NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
Bus Efficiency
Bus efficiency is a metric used to measure the efficiency of
a device transferring data over a bus. In the case of an
SRAM, this figure shows the number of cycles that are
used up when transferring back-to-back READ/WRITE
Bus efficiency = Data transfer cycles / total number of
For an operation such as an R-W-R-W, the maximum bus
efficiency is achieved when data is transferred once every
clock. In other words, 100 percent bus efficiency occurs
when the data is transferred on every clock cycle
regardless of the operation. The NoBL SRAM is designed
to complete a data transfer on every cycle, so it has a bus
efficiency of 100 percent.
This translates to an increase in available bandwidth even
when there are reads followed by writes or writes followed
by reads.
Figure 3. Detailed Timing of Pipelined NoBL SRAM
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Figure 4. Burst Timing for the Pipelined NoBL Device
Figure 3 and Figure 4 show the timings of a pipelined
New access cycles are controlled by the ADV/
Advance/Load input used to advance the on-chip address
counter or to load a new address. When this input is HIGH
at the rising edge of the clock (and
is asserted LOW)
the internal burst counter is advanced. When this signal is
LOW at clock rise, a new address can be loaded through
the address lines into the device for an access.
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A read cycle is initiated when the
signal is high on the
rising edge of the clock. In the subsequent cycles, if the
is high, the device starts a burst access shown in
Figure 4.
Considerations when using NOBL
The NoBL device starts a write access if the
is LOW
on a rising edge of the clock with the device selected.
The sequence of the burst counter is determined by the
MODE input signal. A LOW input on MODE selects a
linear burst mode; a HIGH selects an interleaved burst
sequence. Both burst counters use A0 and A1 in the burst
sequence, and wrap-arounds when incremented
sufficiently. The sequence of operations for a burst access
is as follows. As a new address is loaded to the SRAM by
setting ADV/ ,
LOW, and CE2 HIGH. In
the subsequent clock cycles setting ADV/
HIGH will
increment the internal burst counter regardless of the state
of CE or
is latched at the beginning of a burst
cycle. Therefore, the type of access (Read or Write) is
maintained throughout the burst sequence. Table 1 shows
the interleaved burst sequence, while Table 2 shows the
linear burst sequence.
Table 3. Values of tCHZ and tCLZ
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Obviously these two extremes do not exist on the
same board at the same time. The NoBL device is
designed to drive the bus into High-Z before Low-Z
under all operating conditions with approximately 1 ns
of delta between the two timings, regardless of
processing variations. Therefore, contention on the
data bus does not occur between NoBL SRAMs.
Table 2. Linear Burst Sequence
This appears as if the device is specified to allow data
contention between SRAMs sharing a common data
bus (due to the overlap of tCHZ(max) and tCLZ(min)). This
is not the case. The specifications for the two
parameters are guaranteed over the entire process,
temperature, and voltage range. tCHZ(max) is seen at
slow corner of the process, high temperature, and low
operating voltage. tCLZ(min) is seen at the opposite
operating extreme outside of process variations (fast
process, low temperature, high voltage).
Table 1. Interleaved Burst Sequence
tCHZ and tCLZ: tCHZ parameter specifies the time it takes
for the NoBL device to place its output drivers into a
high-impedance state after the rising edge of the
clock. tCLZ parameter specifies the time it takes for the
NoBL device to start driving data onto the data bus (a
low-impedance state). Table 3 shows the maximum
and minimum timings of the tCHZ and tCLZ as specified
on the datasheet.
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Ax+1, Ax
Chip Selects on NoBL SRAM
The Chip selects on the NoBL SRAM operates in
ways different from that of a synchronous pipelined
SRAM. The NoBL SRAM has three chip selects
CE2, and CE3. On a Sync pipelined SRAM the
signal is ignored when the chip selects are inactive.
In the NoBL SRAMs, the CE pins are sampled on the
rising edge of the clock. None of the pins on the NoBL
SRAMs are masked by any other input. Therefore, all
chip enables need to be active to select the device,
and any of the three can deselect the device.
The NoBL device is a common I/O device. This
implies that data should not be driven into the device
while the outputs are active. The output enable ( )
can be de-asserted HIGH before presenting data to
the DQ0–DQ31 inputs. Doing so will make the output
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NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
drivers tristate. However, the internal logic recognizes
when a write is initiated, and synchronously disables
the output drivers in order to allow the presentation of
the write data. This feature greatly simplifies write
sequences and, in most cases, eliminates the need to
during writes.
Bus Contention
One of the concerns of system designers is bus
contention, especially at high frequencies. Of
particular concern is the shift from a Write command
to a Read command with no bus dead cycles. The
Write being performed by the SRAM controller must
go into High-Z before the SRAM output drivers turn on
for the next Read cycle.
Figure 5. Bus Contention can Occur if the Turn-off Time of the ASIC is Longer than tNO_CONTENTION
Bus contention cannot be completely eliminated.
Figure 5 shows how bus contention could occur.
When performing a Write cycle, the data being driven
to the SRAM (in this case from an ASIC) must meet
the hold time of tDH or 0.5 ns. In order to guarantee
0.5 ns of hold, to compensate for temperature, V DD
variation and clock skew, and to allow for timing
margin, the ASIC must drive the bus longer than
0.5 ns. If this time exceeds tNO_CONTENTION after the
hold time is met, bus contention may occur. The
length of time that an ASIC will drive the bus will be a
function of the process technology of the ASIC and
the output driver used. It is possible that there could
be some bus contention between the ASIC trying to
turn-off and the SRAM trying to turn on. Certainly tCLZ
of 1.5 ns is a worst-case condition for the SRAM, and
under most cases of temperature and voltage, it will
be longer than 1.5 ns. However, the 1.5-ns value must
be used for worst-case calculations.
Hence it will be impossible to completely avoid bus
contention under all conditions of temperature and
voltage. In the following paragraphs we will analyze
the impact to the device.
Suppose that the ASIC goes into High-Z 2.5 ns after
the clock rises. This means that under worst-case
conditions there is 1 ns of bus contention. Assuming
the NoBL SRAM is running at 133 MHz, or a 7.5-ns
clock period (tCYC). This contention only occurs when
going from a Write cycle to a Read cycle. In the worst
case this occurs once every two cycles. So the worstcase bus contention occurs 1 ns out of every two
clock cycles (15 ns), or 6.7 percent of the total cycle.
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On the average, half of the DQ pins will be in bus
contention with the SRAM (because the data bits can
be at either a 1 or 0 value). So for an x36 SRAM, we
will calculate the bus contention assuming that 18 pins
will be in contention (on average). If we assume that
during the period of contention the resistance of the
SRAM driver is 50  and that of the ASIC is 50 ,
then there is a 100  path between power and ground
as shown in Figure 6. Note that this assumption is
only an approximation because the resistance of both
the SRAM driver and ASIC driver is changing over
time as one turns off and the other turns on. Given
VDD (Max) of 3.6 V, Current during contention = 3.6 /
(50 + 50) = 36 mA.
= ½*133*10 *20*10 *36*3.6*3.6*0.5 = 0.31 W
36 mA will be sourced between power and ground for
each I/O in contention.
With bus contention TJ= 70 + 25*1.65 = 111 ºC
Figure 6. Devices in Contention
Total power = 1.26 + 0.31 = 1.57 W
Adding in the power of the bus contention for 6.7 percent
of the time, 1.57 + (0.067*1.17) = 1.65 W, or a minimal
The effect on junction temperature:
Operating Junction temperature TJ = TA
where P is the power dissipated by the SRAM.
TA (Max) = 70 ºC.
JA = 25 ºC/W
Without bus contention, TJ= 70 + 25*1.57 = 109 ºC
Therefore, the junction temperature is increased by 2 ºC
that is acceptable.
In other words, it is acceptable to run with small amounts
of bus contention. There will not be driver damage due to
bus contention. The NoBL SRAM is designed with
separate power pins for I/Os and core so the core power
supply remains isolated from the I/O ring and any current
surges that occur on the I/O. The extra current will cause a
small IR and LdI/dt voltage drop to the I/O ring, but not to
the core logic. This architecture prevents voltage drops to
the core of the SRAM due to small amounts of contention.
Note that the above calculation assumes that bus
contention occurs once every two cycles that is worst
case. It also assumes that the resistance of the drivers is
constant. Lastly, it assumes that the ASIC is at worst-case
turn-off at the same time the SRAM is at worst-case turnon. Typically these occur at opposite extremes of current
and temperature, thus making the above scenario unlikely.
Power dissipated in the SRAM due to contention =
0.036^2*50 = 0.065 W.
For 18 I/Os total power dissipated = 18*0.065= 1.17 W
At first glance this appears to be an unacceptable amount
of power. However, it only occurs for 6.7 percent of the
total cycle.
Power dissipated without bus contention = Core power +
I/O switching power.
Core power= VDD(Max) x IDD(Max) = 3.6*0.35 = 1.26 W
I/O switching power assuming 50 percent reads: = ½*f
*C*V *0.5
where, f = 133 MHz
C = 20 pF*36 for 36 I/Os
V = 3.6 V
Therefore I/O switching power
As described in the earlier sections, applications using
back-to-back READ-WRITE operations would benefit
significantly from the NoBL SRAM.
The NoBL SRAMs eliminate data latency and provide
maximum memory bandwidth utilization.
An ATM switch application is used as an example to show
the improvement in system performance by using NoBL
ATM switches are applications that require high memory
throughput. There are three ways of implementing an ATM
switch: Shared memory, Self-routing fabric, Shared
The Shared memory architecture is one where a large
shared memory is used to buffer the incoming cells before
being routed to one of the output ports. Figure 7 shows
typical shared memory architecture of an ATM switch. The
size of the shared memory depends on the number of
cells that have to be buffered for each of the output ports.
The data rate supported by the switch determines the
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NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
width of the data bus for the shared memory and the
frequency of operation of the memory.
The clock frequency required can be calculated using the
Figure 7. A Shared Memory ATM Switch
Frequency = Data rate / (bus efficiency × width of the data
In this application, let us assume that we use a bus width
of 192-bits.
Solution Using NoBL devices
One of the solutions available for such applications is the
NoBL SRAM. These devices does not need a turnaround
time between a write and a read operation.
The pipelined version of the device is designed to have a
standard offset of two cycles for a read and a write.
By using this device, the bus utilization can be improved to
100 percent.
Most of the shared memory switches use SRAM’s. For this
discussion we use a shared memory module, which can
store up to 26 K cells (1 ATM Cell = 53 Bytes) with a target
data rate of 19.2 Gbps. Most of the ATM operations
involve continuous Writes and Reads of ATM cells.
To operate this block at 19.2 Gbps, the frequency of
operation comes to 19.2 Gbps / (1.0 × 192 bits) =
100 MHz
The most important consideration in using a certain type of
memory in this application is its ability to provide the data
rate of 19.2 Gbps. There are several ways of achieving the
data rate required for such an application. One way of
achieving the desired data rate without running the SRAM
at very high-speed data rate is to use wider data bus
widths. Another way of achieving the higher data rate is to
run the synchronous SRAM’s at a higher clock frequency.
The NoBL architecture eliminates the wait periods
between read and write, and utilizes the I/O bus close to
100%. This dramatically improves the bandwidth in a
given system.
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NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
Document History
Document Title: NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture – AN1090
Document Number: 001-26399
Orig. of
Description of Change
Obtain spec # for note to be added to spec system. This note had no technical
updates. Kindly replace existing .pdf file on
Minor edits to maintain consistency with the new application note template.
Corrected WE signal in Figure 5.
Added bandwidth calculation in page 6
Elaborated bus contention section in pages 9, 10, and 11.
Updated to latest template.
Modified Abstract
Modified description in Introduction section
Removed comparison references of Standard Synchronous SRAMs
Converted application note from FrameMaker to Word template.
Template update.
Minor correction in Power calculation equations on Page 7.
Power dissipated in the SRAM due to contention = 0.036^2*50 = 0.065 W.
I/O switching power assuming 50 percent reads: = ½*f *C*V 2*0.5
Changed copyright date to 2013.
Document No. 001-26399 Rev. *E
NoBL™: The Fast SRAM Architecture
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Document No. 001-26399 Rev. *E