What Is SoC Development?

An SoC (System-on-a-Chip) is a complete processing system contained in a single package that contains multiple processing parts. The main components of an SoC typically include a central processing unit, memory, input and output ports, peripheral interfaces and secondary storage devices.

The SoC integrates all the components on the circuit, and so are hardcoded, whereas the traditional motherboard approach uses expansion cards to integrate various components.

Off-the-shelf SoCs are available to developers looking to build new products. These may be the best option for many products, but they have limitations. Off-the-shelf components limit the ability to differentiate the product in key areas like price, feature set, size and reliability. For this, a custom chip is often a superior option. Designing a custom chip once required a significant investment and was reserved for products with anticipated large volumes. But today, access to IP and low-cost solutions make custom chip building a viable option.

Why Is SoC Development Important?

While the initial costs of designing and developing an SoC may be higher, many developers choose this approach to minimize power consumption and provide significantly more differentiation. Traditionally, the vast majority of energy is spent on data and bus address cabling. With SoCs, components are internally connected on a single chip which reduces cabling requirements and minimizes power consumption. Proprietary IPs and accelerators can also be integrated onto custom SoCs to enhance performance and power efficiency.

Other advantages of the SoC include faster execution due to high-speed processor and memory, smaller, more compact chips, improved performance and efficiency, simpler system designs, faster time to market and greater security at both the firmware and hardware levels.

Solutions on the market today offer SoC developers the ability to design faster. They offer a range of configurable, modifiable subsystems for a wide range of system types. The systems pre-integrate the processor and interconnect IP with the most relevant system components.

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