Easy Path to BSA/SBSA Compliance Before Tape-Out

Arm SystemReady Pre-Silicon is program that helps silicon vendors achieve BSA/SBSA compliance prior to taping out, in a well-defined and low-risk path to SystemReady. It provides tools (such as the pre-silicon BSA/SBSA compliance tests), and, above all, a framework with specific steps for silicon vendors to take to become BSA compliant.

For a system-on-chip (SoC) to be SystemReady, silicon vendors must consider BSA compliance throughout all pre-silicon phases of development – after all, BSA defines a system architecture and compliance must be achieved in hardware (silicon).

Since each production run of a chip is costly, pre-silicon compliance allows SoC design testing before tape-out, to help reduce costs and risks.

Features and Benefits

Aids Compliance

Provides BSA compliance before tape-out.

Reduces Risk

Prevents costly silicon re-spins and software workarounds.

Ensures Success

Enables a well-defined and low-risk path to Arm SystemReady.

The Process

Achieving Arm SystemReady pre-silicon is a multistage process as outlined in the diagram below. Ultimately vendors must run the Architecture Compliance Suite (ACS) tests on a pre-silicon simulation or emulation environment. The ACS is open source and developed by Arm.

Silicon designers can choose to run the ACS on top of UEFI or directly on bare metal:

  • Key benefits for running on UEFI: silicon designers can leverage existing firmware development work for faster porting and less integration effort.
  • Key benefits for running on bare metal: tests can run earlier in the design cycle, with shorter simulation and emulation cycles, and faster root cause analysis.

The PCIe exerciser is essential for achieving complete BSA coverage. The exerciser generates custom stimuli, making the pre-silicon tests a super-set of the on-silicon tests. Exerciser gives greater controllability and observability, and helps to identify deeper integration issues, particularly for PCIe.

You can learn more about the process of achieving Arm SystemReady pre-silicon in the SystemReady Pre-Silicon Reference Guide.

Arm SystemReady Diagram 

Key Partners

Arm SystemReady pre-silicon compliance testing, based on the BSA specification and supplements like SBSA, is available for silicon partners. Arm is working closely with electronic design automation (EDA) partners on developing related tools.

Arm collaborates with EDA partners to provide silicon designers with a complete solution for pre-silicon BSA compliance testing. EDAs develop and commercialize the PCIe exerciser, which is a crucial component for pre-silicon BSA/SBSA compliance testing. The PCIe exerciser integrates the ACS tests, exerciser, and bare-metal drivers in pre-silicon simulation or emulation environments for an out-of-the-box experience.

EDAs may also provide integration for BSA/SBSA compliance tests with their pre-silicon emulation and verification environments, providing a complete solution and an out-of-the-box experience for silicon partners. Click the logos below to learn more about EDA solutions for SystemReady pre-silicon.

EDA partners: 

SYNOPSYS logo  Cadence logo

Arm Morello Program

Arm Morello

Before the Morello evaluation board was manufactured, the design went through pre-silicon compliance testing.

Carrying out pre-silicon compliance testing, helped ensure that no compliance issues were found on silicon, and different OSs could boot with minimal effort.

This new approach offers huge benefits by de-risking the expensive production of silicon and giving confidence that the hardware is designed to run software successfully. 

Learn More