Propeller II update - BLOG

Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,416
edited 2014-04-02 - 07:04:58 in Propeller 2
attachment.php?attachmentid=73453&d=1285371329PropellerGenInfoBan.jpg

As an ongoing effort to keep our customers in the loop with current updates with Propeller II and other projects, I have decided to start a blog that shows video sections of Propeller II layout that I'm currently working on.

There is no audio... well, some of it may have audio, other than a brief text description of what the layout block is. This method has a minimal impact on productivity, because I can push a record button and forget about it, and besides, there are times you wouldn't want to hear me mumble. :-)

Feel free to ask questions and make comments to the video section.



Propeller II updates:

-> Currently we are scheduled for Early November 2010 tape out for a test chip!! This is a significant milestone and will help us determine from empirical testing if we need to make any changes before the final Chip.



-> So the question begs... "When is the final Chip coming?" ... I know better than to put any numbers here, but a little insight might help. Here is a little bit of a perspective as to why it takes so long for this process to take place.

When I was at National Semiconductor we usually had a layout and design team of 20 or so individuals for any given project and roughly the design would take about a year from start to finish. Compared to Parallax not taking into consideration that the design itself goes through a series of changes (even after layout has been placed <- Yes, this means you just rip it all up and start over in some cases), as far as our layout and design team is concerned we are a 2 man team between Chip (design) and myself (layout).

I've been with Parallax for 5 years and when I started layout at Parallax I had a blank screen, completely black. We had to design our own standard cells ... AND,OR,NOR,NAND,XOR, etc... not only once, but twice one for each voltage level we had in our design (1.8V and 3.3V). The design rule deck also needed to be incorporated into the layout tool that started out as a PDF file (paper version).

So ok, what am I trying to say? ... if it takes roughly 1 year with a design team of 20 (about 41k man hours), we are ahead of schedule at 5 years out with a design team of 2 individuals (about 21k man hours). That's NOT to say that it will take another 5 years by any means, fortunately we have the luxury of not having 'too many cooks in the kitchen', but realistically we could be looking at this time next year.


Hope you enjoy the videos!


Video Project:

Metal slots on corner cell

Modifying an (Input) I/O for the Test Chip

Modifying an (Output) I/O for the Test Chip

General Floor Plan Outline with audio

ECO Change on resistor type from N+Poly to P+Poly with audio

How to find that DRC error with audio

Fuse structure, buried under several layers of metal with audio

Test Die Wiring

Test Die Wiring (some more)

How to swap 32 wires in 5 min


Beau Schwabe --- Robotics applications- PCB design, embedded software, and mechanical
Oklahoma Robotics -

www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

«134567223

Comments

  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,213
    edited 2010-09-10 - 09:38:43
    Beau,
    Currently we are scheduled for Early November 2010 tape out for a test chip!!

    Fantastic news, that means I can expect a Prop II in my Christmas stocking this year..oh wait..
    ...realistically we could be looking at this time next year.

    OK. That is still fantastic news.

    However you might have to explain things a bit more.

    The second part of your announcement talks about the "layout and design team" and how this will require another year for you two guys.

    I have no doubts about the magnitude of the task but what I don't understand is how one gets a test chip out without having done the bulk, or indeed all, of the layout and design.

    Is it so that the test chip will not necessarily have all the features you would like in the finished device?

    Or is it so that you anticipate the possibility of major re-layout work if any problems arise?

    Just curious and can't wait.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,589
    edited 2010-09-10 - 09:40:40
    Thanks for the look into the Prop II design process! Is there any chance you could post a summary of what is currently planned for the Propeller II? I know there has been discussion of this in various places and a video that Chip did discussing the plans but it would be nice to have a concise list of likely features.

    Thanks!
    David Betz
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,474
    edited 2010-09-10 - 09:47:28
    Beau,

    I'm sure those videos are very nice, but I could not get past the login screen to see them. My forum login credentials do not work there.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,213
    edited 2010-09-10 - 09:47:46
    So what is the purpose of those little metal slots?
  • Jeff MartinJeff Martin Posts: 606
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:14:20
    Heater. wrote: »
    I don't understand is how one gets a test chip out without having done the bulk, or indeed all, of the layout and design.

    Our initial test chip will consist of critical blocks that are mostly disengaged from each other, to allow us to individually test components we've designed. It won't be an integrated chip until a later fabrication after we've tested, optimized, and proven those blocks, at which time we can start integrating them together.

    It's the same concept as with programming... write a routine or two, test them extensively in isolation, integrate them together and test again, move on to the next function, repeat.
    Jeff Martin
    Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3002
    jmartin@parallax.com
    http://www.parallax.com
  • Jeff MartinJeff Martin Posts: 606
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:16:52
    David Betz wrote: »
    Is there any chance you could post a summary of what is currently planned for the Propeller II?

    We're working on that right now. It will still contain preliminary information because some designed features may have to be modified or removed, but we'll post a clear list of the designed features as soon as we can bring it all together.
    Jeff Martin
    Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3002
    jmartin@parallax.com
    http://www.parallax.com
  • RavenkallenRavenkallen Posts: 1,057
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:17:31
    Cool.... I agree with David. I nice list of the Prop II features would be nice... Like i still have not heard a straight answer about how much RAM the new prop will have..
    I got the best hair around...Guaranteed!
  • Jeff MartinJeff Martin Posts: 606
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:18:06
    ...I could not get past the login screen to see them.

    Please try the links again, the first time we didn't have the correct URL posted.
    Jeff Martin
    Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3002
    jmartin@parallax.com
    http://www.parallax.com
  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,416
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:24:37
    Heater,

    Metal slots are used for wide metal >35 um. They are there to minimize the stress effects during the fabrication process, as well as heat related stress caused by current carried through the wire.


    Beau Schwabe --- Robotics applications- PCB design, embedded software, and mechanical
    Oklahoma Robotics -

    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

  • wjsteelewjsteele Posts: 697
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:25:54
    Dang it, Beau, you shot me down! I was so impressed with my mad skills laying out my simple little PC board in PCBExpress for the Wingman... now you go and show me that I still have a lot to learn. ;-)

    Thanks!

    Bill
  • Dr. MarioDr. Mario Posts: 330
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:44:12
    That's real nice, and I can't wait... The thick pin gate part being 35um is more reasonable, as I have known that the Propeller I is also even being punished directly driving some bright LEDs, and / or driving fistful of chips.

    What I heard about Propeller II's COG internal, it shall be wonderful additions to being a supercomputer-on-chip, such as trying to shoot for over 1 GIPS on C++ operating system kernel (also written under SPIN on some part which is usually required). ^____^ Can't wait...
    "Mamma-mia! It's-a Propeller!"
    "Resistance is futile!"
    "What's a gigawatt?"
  • FredBlaisFredBlais Posts: 368
    edited 2010-09-10 - 11:51:40
    Does a test chip is a completely functionnal beta version of the chip, or it is like shuttle run for testing different parts of the chip?

    Nice... Hope all is going to work the first time!
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,213
    edited 2010-09-10 - 12:09:17
    Beau anf Jeff,

    Thanks for those replies, makes sense to me.

    It's fascinating to watch you work on those blocks. This must be a first in the history of silicon electronics, that the customers of a future chip product can watch it being designed.

    Mondrian would be proud of you:

    http://www.lanevatile.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/mondrian.jpg

    http://paintings.name/images/piet-mondrian/Mondrian-Broadway-boogie-woogie.jpg
  • Toby SeckshundToby Seckshund Posts: 2,025
    edited 2010-09-10 - 12:46:27
    It baffles me, how you chip makers can hold such patience. All those little design things that must be constantly thought about.

    I think a petulant hammer would have been my reaction, long ago.
  • Dr. MarioDr. Mario Posts: 330
    edited 2010-09-10 - 13:51:18
    Yeah. Making the chips are very complex undertaking.
    We need to hold our breath to see how it turns out, hence the reason Beau is testing our future toy, propeller II - it could be made on 130 - 65nm, so it's a very tedious task.
    "Mamma-mia! It's-a Propeller!"
    "Resistance is futile!"
    "What's a gigawatt?"
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,474
    edited 2010-09-10 - 13:51:53
    Jeff,

    I reloaded this page, but I'm still getting the login screen. This is the link that I'm getting it from:

    http://video.parallax.com/activate/4478d18041?redirect_to=/medias/182418

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,416
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:14:21
    Phil,

    That's the correct url address ... I tested it on another machine that would have had no "cookie knowledge" that I had previously logged in to the account, and it went to where it is supposed to go.

    What browser are you using? I have tried Explorer and Mozilla (FireFox) both on a Fedora Linux and Windows XP and it looks like it should.


    FredBlais,

    The Test chip consists of completed functional blocks that we want to test, but not a fully functional chip.


    Beau Schwabe --- Robotics applications- PCB design, embedded software, and mechanical
    Oklahoma Robotics -

    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

  • w8anw8an Posts: 176
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:21:52
    The videos work ok on Google Chrome also
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,589
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:29:32
    The videos also work on Safari on the Macintosh.
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,474
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:30:23
    Beau,

    I'm using Opera on OS/X. BTW, the Propeller Q&A page doesn't work with this setup either.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Roger LeeRoger Lee Posts: 339
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:32:38
    Beau,
    Very interesting - for about 4 minutes. Since I really have no idea what your are doing it's hard (for me) to follow.
    I can at least tell you know what you're doing. Looks like a lot of work.

    Thanks for posting these videos.

  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,620
    edited 2010-09-10 - 14:38:43
    It's OK for me with Firefox and Win7 x64.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM
  • RinksCustomsRinksCustoms Posts: 531
    edited 2010-09-10 - 15:03:38
    @ Beau - to think that the prop II could possibly be in my hands round christmas time next year is a wonderful thought indeed. I hope you guys achieve a new record in terms of man hours to completion. And its good to not put a date on it, unlike my copy of GT5 which has been delayed 1 or two months at a time for the past 5 YEARS!!!! I'm so irate at this point i may not buy the game at all on nov 2. awesome, yet seeing from the really cool videos, but highly tedious work, excellent Beau!! love the updates.
    Cali was beautiful, glad to be home in NJ!
  • pacmanpacman Posts: 327
    edited 2010-09-10 - 17:26:18
    As an ongoing effort to keep our customers in the loop with current updates with Propeller II and other projects, I have decided to start a blog that shows video sections of Propeller II layout that I'm currently working on.

    I know of no other company that would go to such lengths for their customers. Awesome


    PLEASE accept my donation into your kudos bucket for this...

    Karma + 100
    =================
    The future is in our hands.
    Which way to the future?
    =================
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 9,907
    edited 2010-09-10 - 17:47:43
    Well, I've heard Chip say "in one year" for a few years now...

    But, this is the first time I've heard Beau say it!

    So, I take this as an encouraging sign...
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited 2010-09-10 - 21:08:42
    BTW, the Propeller Q&A page doesn't work with this setup either.

    Why are you still hanging on to such a POS?
    Platåberget
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,474
    edited 2010-09-10 - 21:29:41
    Now, User_Name, for someone with only five posts in these forums, that's being rather judgmental, don't you think?

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited 2010-09-10 - 21:49:23
    Now, User_Name, for someone with only five posts in these forums, that's being rather judgmental, don't you think?

    -Phil

    I saw you complaining the other day about the Q&A. Now I see you having problems with the blog videos. You must have your reasons for using what you do. But your own experiences with it convince me to steer clear.

    See, I'm recognizing your vast knowledge and assigning great weight to your words!
    Platåberget
  • RavenkallenRavenkallen Posts: 1,057
    edited 2010-09-10 - 21:54:17
    POS???????
    I got the best hair around...Guaranteed!
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,474
    edited 2010-09-10 - 22:10:13
    PoS = Piece of $#|+.

    The thing is, Opera+OS/X works flawlessly for almost everything else, including this forum. Opera is widely recognized for being standards-compliant. Unless the two sites I'm having trouble with use some non-standard Ajax techniques or bleeding-edge HTML5, I would expect it to handle them without issue.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Sign In or Register to comment.