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Overview of bus structure in an example SoC.

A platform chip is an SoC that is used in a number of products although chunks of it might be turned off in any one application: for example, the USB port might not be made available on a portable media player despite being on the core chip.

At the architectural design stage, devices must be allocated to busses with knowledge of the expected access and traffic patterns. Commonly there is one main bus master per bus. The bus master is the device that generates the address for the next data movement (read or write operation).

Busses are connected to bridges, but crossing a bridge has latency and also uses up bandwidth on both busses. So we should allocate devices to busses so that inter-bus traffic is minimised based on a priori knowledge of likely access patterns.

Lower-speed busses may go off chip.

DRAM is always an important component that is generally off chip as a dedicated part. Today, some on-chip DRAM is being used in SoCs.

45: (C) 2008-11, DJ Greaves, University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory.