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Low-Power Programmable FPGA Routing Circuitry

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2 Author(s)
Anderson, J.H. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada ; Najm, F.N.

We consider circuit techniques for reducing field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) power consumption and propose a family of new FPGA routing switch designs that are programmable to operate in three different modes: high-speed, low-power, or sleep. High-speed mode provides similar power and performance to traditional FPGA routing switches. In low-power mode, speed is curtailed in order to reduce power consumption. Leakage is reduced by 28%-52% in low-power versus high-speed mode, depending on the particular switch design selected. Dynamic power is reduced by 28%-31% in low-power mode. Leakage power in sleep mode, which is suitable for unused routing switches, is 61%-79% lower than in high-speed mode. Each of the proposed switch designs has a different power/area/speed tradeoff. All of the designs require only minor changes to a traditional routing switch and involve relatively small area overhead, making them easy to incorporate into current commercial FPGAs. The applicability of the new switches is motivated through an analysis of timing slack in industrial FPGA designs. It is observed that a considerable fraction of routing switches may be slowed down (operate in low-power mode), without impacting overall design performance.

Published in:

Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 8 )