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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles, Part 165: Power Management Part 3

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Adam Taylor


Having looked that how we can optimize the Zynq SoC’s PS (processor system) for power during operation and when we wish for the Zynq SoC to enter sleep mode, I now want to round off our look at power-reduction techniques by looking at how we reduce power consumption within the Zynq SoC’s PL (programmable logic) using design techniques. Obviously, one of the first things we should do is enable power optimization within implementation flow, which optimizes the design for power efficiency.  However, Vivado tools can only optimize a design as presented. So let’s see what we can do to ensure that we present the best design possible.





Setting Power Optimization within Vivado



One of the first places to start is to ensure that we are familiar with the structure of the CLBs and slices used to implement our creations within the Zynq SoC’s PL. If you are not as familiar as you should be, the detail of these PL components is provided within in the Seven Series CLB user guide UG474.

Each CLB contains two slices. These slices provide the LUTs (look up tables), storage elements, etc. used to implement the logic in your design. The first thing we can do to optimize power consumption in our programmable logic design is to consider the polarity, synchronicity, and grouping of control signals to these CLB’s and slices. When we talk about a control signal, we mean the clock, clock enable, set/reset, and distributed-RAM write enables used within a slice.





Storage elements in a Programmable Logic Slice



Looking at the storage elements shown above, you can see that except for the CLK control signal, which has a mux to enable its inversion, all other signals are active high. If we declare them as active low or asynchronous, we will require an extra LUT to invert the signal and additional routing resources to connect the inverter. These extra logic and routing resources increase power consumption.


Grouping of control signals relates to how a specific group of control signals—e.g. the clock, reset and clock enable—behave. Creating many different control groups within a design or module makes it more difficult for the placer to locate elements within different control groups close together. The end result will require more routing which makes timing closure more difficult and increases power consumption.


We also need to consider how we use and configure the PL’s I/O resources. For instance, we must giver proper consideration to limiting drive strength and slew rate. We should also consider using the lowest I/O voltage supported by the receiving device. For example, can we may be able to use reduced-swing LVDS in place of LVDS.


More advanced design techniques that we can use relate to the use of hard macros within the PL and how the tools use this logic. One of the biggest savings can be achieved by using a smaller device, which clearly reduces overall power. There are two main techniques we can use to reduce the size of the required device. The first of these is resource time sharing, which uses the same on-chip logic resources for different functions at different times. A second approach is to use a common core for processing multiple inputs and inputs if possible. However, this technique increases complexity during design capture because we must consider multiplexing and sequencing needs.


Once we have completed our design, we can run the XPE tool within Vivado to estimate power consumption and predict junction temperature (very important!). Hopefully, we’ll get the reduction power we require. However, if we do not, we can perform “what if” scenarios as detailed by UG907, which also contains other low-power design techniques.



Code is available on Github as always.


If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




  • First Year E Book here
  • First Year Hardback here.



MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg 




  • Second Year E Book here
  • Second Year Hardback here




MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg 




All of Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles are cataloged here.










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