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This paper presents the design and study of circuit architectures for gigabit GFP frame delineation and explores the trade-offs between the data-path (parallelism) and the corresponding hardware cost. The study targets the development of a SoC platform for the design of next generation network processing. Circuits with an 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit and a 64-bit data-path have been implemented and analysed in terms of, scalability, hardware cost, speed, and data throughput capabilities. The circuit analysis is based on performance results with the UMC 0.18 μm standard cell libraries obtained using Synopsys physical compiler. Analysis shows that the 64-bit datapath architecture is able to achieve data rates beyond l0Gbps whereas the 8-bit data-path architecture is very compact and operates with a clock rate of close to 300MHz. Considering the throughput-rate versus silicon area cost as a measure of silicon area efficiency, then the 16-bit data-path architecture proves to be the most efficient.