AMBA interface updated; new version supports high-end multicore configurations

June 04, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
ARM has launched the next generation of AMBA interconnect specification for high performance embedded processor cores.

The AMBA 5 CHI (Coherent Hub Interface) is designed to allow Cortex-A50 series processors to work together in high-performance, coherent processing “hubs”, and to deliver the high data rates that are common in Enterprise markets, such as servers and networking.
Building on the success of AMBA 4 ACE technology, the AMBA 5 CHI specification has been developed by ARM with the participation of leading industry players including ARM semiconductor partners, third party IP providers and the EDA industry. The AMBA 5 CHI protocol is used by the ARMv8 architecture-based Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors and the CoreLink DMC-520 Dynamic Memory Controller. It is also used by the CoreLink CCN-504 Cache Coherent Network, which is capable of 1 Terabit/sec data flows.
The AMBA 5 CHI has been developed to support high frequency, non-blocking data transfers between multiple fully coherent processors. The interface ensures optimal system performance by supporting distributed level 3 caches, very high rates of I/O coherent communication, and Quality of Service (QoS) functionality. The AMBA 5 CHI architecture also introduces a layered model to allow implementations to separate communication and transport protocols, which enables the optimal trade-off between performance, power and area.

“To ensure that our silicon partners can rapidly deploy IP and SoCs implementing the AMBA 5 CHI protocol, ARM has worked closely with many partners across the SoC design ecosystem,” says Noel Hurley, vice president, Marketing and Strategy, Processor Division, ARM. “Through early engagement we have enabled our EDA partners to develop a wide range of verification IP, and debugging and performance analysis tools to accelerate the implementation of AMBA 5 CHI based SoCs.”

The AMBA 5 CHI specification and associated protocol checkers (SystemVerilog assertions) are available, at no cost, under license to companies integrating or developing IP that implements the AMBA 5 CHI protocol.