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High-Speed Digital System Design: A Handbook of Interconnect Theory and Design Practices / Edition 1

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A cutting-edge guide to the theory and practice of high-speed digital system design

An understanding of high-speed interconnect phenomena is essential for digital designers who must deal with the challenges posed by the ever-increasing operating speeds of today's microprocessors. This book provides a much-needed, practical guide to the state of the art of modern digital system design, combining easily accessible explanations with immensely useful problem-solving strategies. Written by three leading Intel engineers, High-Speed Digital System Design clarifies difficult and often neglected topics involving the effects of high frequencies on digital buses and presents a variety of proven techniques and application examples. Extensive appendices, formulas, modeling techniques as well as hundreds of figures are also provided.
Coverage includes:
* A thorough introduction to the digital aspects of basic transmission line theory
* Crosstalk and nonideal transmission line effects on signal quality and timings
* The impact of packages, vias, and connectors on signal integrity
* The effects of nonideal return current paths, high frequency power delivery, and simultaneous switching noise
* Explanations of how driving circuit characteristics affect the quality of the digital signal
* Digital timing analysis at the system level that incorporates high-speed signaling effects into timing budgets
* Methodologies for designing high-speed buses and handling the very large number of variables that affect interconnect performance
* Radiated emission problems and how to minimize system noise
* The practical aspects of making measurements in high-speed digital systems

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" excellent guidebook for interconnect design...this very valuable work is highly recommended for design engineers and recent graduates struggling to transition from theory to real-world design." (Choice, Vol. 38, No. 8, April 2001)

"This is an excellent book for anyone who has basic circuit theory knowledge.... It is a recommended book for all academic engineering libraries and would, also, be useful for the practicing engineer." (E-Streams, Vol. 4, No. 8, August 2001)

Choice excellent guidebook for interconnect design...this very valuable work is highly recommended for design engineers and recent graduates struggling to transition from theory to real-world design.
Choice excellent guidebook for interconnect design...this very valuable work is highly recommended for design engineers and recent graduates struggling to transition from theory to real-world design.
Covers the practical and theoretical aspects necessary to design modern high-speed digital systems at the platform level, with particular attention paid to computer buses. The authors, three Intel engineers, begin with basic transmission line theory, crosstalk and non-ideal transmission line effect on signal quality and timings, and the impacts of packages, vias and connectors on signal integrity. Non-ideal return paths, simultaneous switching noise, power delivery, buffer modeling, and digital timing analysis are then explained. The final chapters discuss methods for designing high-speed buses that handle the large number of variables that affect interconnect performance, radiated emissions problems and system noise minimization, and high-speed measurement techniques. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471360902
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

STEPHEN H. HALL is a Senior Design Engineer at Intel Corporation, Portland, Oregon.

GARRETT W. HALL is a Silicon Systems Engineer at Intel Corporation.

JAMES A. McCALL is a Senior Design Engineer at Intel Corporation.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Importance of Interconnect Design

The speed of light is just too slow. Commonplace, modern, volume-manufactured digital designs require control of timings down to the picosecond range. The amount of time it takes light from your nose to reach your eye is about 100 picoseconds (in 100 ps, light travels about 1.2 in.). This level of timing must not only be maintained at the silicon level, but also at the physically much larger level of the system board, such as a computer motherboard. These systems operate at high frequencies at which conductors no longer behave as simple wires, but instead exhibit high-frequency effects and behave as transmission lines that are used to transmit or receive electrical signals to or from neighboring components. If these transmission lines are not handled properly, they can unintentionally ruin system timing. Digital design has acquired the complexity of the analog world and more. However, it has not always been this way. Digital technology is a remarkable story of technological evolution. It is a continuing story of paradigm shifts, industrial revolution, and rapid change that is unparalleled. Indeed, it is a common creed in marketing departments of technology companies that "by the time a market survey tells you the public wants something, it is already too late."

This rapid progress has created a roadblock to technological progress that this book will help solve. The problem is that modern digital designs require knowledge that has formerly not been needed. Because of this, many currently employed digital system designers do not have the knowledge required for modern high-speed designs. This fact leads to a surprisingly large amount of misinformation to propagate through engineering circles. Often, the concepts of high-speed design are perceived with a sort of mysticism. However, this problem has not come about because the required knowledge is unapproachable. In fact, many of the same concepts have been used for several decades in other disciplines of electrical engineering, such as radiofrequency design and microwave design. The problem is that most references on the necessary subjects are either too abstract to be immediately applicable to the digital designer, or they are too practical in nature to contain enough theory to fully understand the subject. This book will focus directly on the area of digital design and will explain the necessary concepts to understand and solve contemporary and future problems in a manner directly applicable by practicing engineers and/or students. It is worth not ing that everything in this book has been applied to a successful modern design.

As the reader undoubtedly knows, the basic idea in digital design is to communicate information with signals representing 1 s or Os. Typically this involves sending and receiving a series of trapezoidal shaped voltage signals such as shown in Figure 1.1 in which a high voltage is a 1 and a low voltage is a 0. The conductive paths carrying the digital signals are known as interconnects. The interconnect includes the entire electrical pathway from the chip sending a signal to the chip receiving the signal. This includes the chip packages, connectors, sockets, as well as a myriad of additional structures. A group of interconnects is referred to as a bus. The region of voltage where a digital receiver distinguishes between a high and a low voltage is known as the threshold region. Within this region, the receiver will either switch high or switch low. On the silicon, the actual switching voltages vary with temperature, supply voltage, silicon process, and other variables. From the system designers point of view, there are usually high- and low-voltage thresholds, known as Vih and Vil, associated with the receiving silicon, above which and below which a high or low value can be guaranteed to be received under all conditions. Thus the designer must guarantee that the system can, under all conditions, deliver high voltages that do not, even briefly, fall below Vih, and low voltages that remain below Vil, in order to ensure the integrity of the data.

In order to maximize the speed of operation of a digital system, the timing uncertainty of a transition through the threshold region must be minimized. This means that the rise or fall time of the digital signal must be as fast as possible. Ideally, an infinitely fast edge rate would be used, although there are many practical problems that prevent this...

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Table of Contents


1. The Importance of Interconnect Design.

1.1 The Basics.

1.2 The Past and the Future.

2. Ideal Transmission Line Fundamentals.

2.1 Transmission Line Structures on a PCB or MCM.

2.2 Wave Propagation.

2.3 Transmission Line Parameters.

2.3.1 Characteristic Impedance.

2.3.2 Propagation Velocity, Time, and Distance.

2.3.3 Equivalent Circuit Models for SPICE Simulation.

2.4 Launching Initial Wave and Transmission Line Reflections.

2.4.1 Initial Wave.

2.4.2 Multiple Reflections.

2.4.3 Effect of Rise Time on Reflections.

2.4.4 Reflections From Reactive Loads.

2.4.5 Termination Schemes to Eliminate Reflections.

2.5 Additional Examples.

2.5.1 Problem.

2.5.2 Goals.

2.5.3 Calculating the Cross-Sectional Geometry of the PCB.

2.5.4 Calculating the Propagation Delay.

2.5.5 Determining the Wave Shape Seen at the Receiver.

2.5.6 Creating an Equivalent Circuit.

3. Crosstalk.

3.1 Mutual Inductance and Mutual Capacitance.

3.2 Inductance and Capacitance Matrix.

3.3 Field Simulators.

3.4 Crosstalk-Induced Noise.

3.5 Simulating Crosstalk Using Equivalent Circuit Models.

3.6 Crosstalk-Induced Flight Time and Signal Integrity Variations.

3.6.1 Effect of Switching Patterns on Transmission Line Performance.

3.6.2 Simulating Traces in a Multiconductor System Using a Single-Line Equivalent Model.

3.7 Crosstalk Trends.

3.8 Termination of Odd- and Even-Mode Transmission Line Pairs.

3.8.1 Pi Termination Network.

3.8.2 T Termination Network.

3.9 Minimization of Crosstalk.

3.10 Additional Examples.

3.10.1 Problem.

3.10.2 Goals.

3.10.3 Determining the Maximum Crosstalk-Induced Impedance and Velocity Swing.

3.10.4 Determining if Crosstalk Will Induce False Triggers.

4. Nonideal Interconnect Issues.

4.1 Transmission Line Losses.

4.1.1 Conductor DC Losses.

4.1.2 Dielectric DC Losses.

4.1.3 Skin Effect.

4.1.4 Frequency-Dependent Dielectric Losses.

4.2 Variations in the Dielectric Constant.

4.3 Serpentine Traces.

4.4 Intersymbol Interference.

4.5 Effects of 90° Bends.

4.6 Effect of Topology.

5. Connectors, Packages, and Vias.

5.1 Vias.

5.2 Connectors.

5.2.1 Series Inductance.

5.2.2 Shunt Capacitance.

5.2.3 Connector Crosstalk.

5.2.4 Effects of Inductively Coupled Connector Pin Fields.

5.2.5 EMI.

5.2.6 Connector Design Guidelines.

5.3 Chip Packages.

5.3.1 Common Types of Packages.

5.3.2 Creating a Package Model.

5.3.3 Effects of a Package.

5.3.4 Optimal Pin-Outs.

6. Nonideal Return Paths, Simultaneous Switching Noise, and Power Delivery.

6.1 Nonideal Current Return Paths.

6.1.1 Path of Least Inductance.

6.1.2 Signals Traversing a Ground Gap.

6.1.3 Signals That Change Reference Planes.

6.1.4 Signals Referenced to a Power or a Ground Plane.

6.1.5 Other Nonideal Return Path Scenarios.

6.1.6 Differential Signals.

6.2 Local Power Delivery Networks.

6.2.1 Determining the Local Decoupling Requirements for High-Speed I/O.

6.2.2 System-Level Power Delivery.

6.2.3 Choosing a Decoupling Capacitor.

6.2.4 Frequency Response of a Power Delivery System.

6.3 SSO/SSN.

6.3.1 Minimizing SSN.

7. Buffer Modeling.

7.1 Types of Models.

7.2 Basic CMOS Output Buffer.

7.2.1 Basic Operation.

7.2.2 Linear Modeling of the CMOS Buffer.

7.2.3 Behavioral Modeling of the Basic CMOS Buffer.

7.3 Output Buffers That Operate in the Saturation Region.

7.4 Conclusions.

8. Digital Timing Analysis.

8.1 Common-Clock Timing.

8.1.1 Common-Clock Timing Equations.

8.2 Source Synchronous Timing.

8.2.1 Source Synchronous Timing Equations.

8.2.2 Deriving Source Synchronous Timing Equations from an Eye Diagram.

8.2.3 Alternative Source Synchronous Schemes.

8.3 Alternative Bus Signaling Techniques.

8.3.1 Incident Clocking.

8.3.2 Embedded Clock.

9. Design Methodologies.

9.1 Timings.

9.1.1 Worst-Case Timing Spreadsheet.

9.1.2 Statistical Spreadsheets.

9.2 Timing Metrics, Signal Quality Metrics, and Test Loads.

9.2.1 Voltage Reference Uncertainty.

9.2.2 Simulation Reference Loads.

9.2.3 Flight Time.

9.2.4 Flight-Time Skew.

9.2.5 Signal Integrity.

9.3 Design Optimization.

9.3.1 Paper Analysis.

9.3.2 Routing Study.

9.4 Sensitivity Analysis.

9.4.1 Initial Trend and Significance Analysis.

9.4.2 Ordered Parameter Sweeps.

9.4.3 Phase 1 Solution Space.

9.4.4 Phase 2 Solution Space.

9.4.5 Phase 3 Solution Space.

9.5 Design Guidelines.

9.6 Extraction.

9.7 General Rules of Thumb to Follow When Designing a System.

10. Radiated Emissions Compliance and System Noise Minimization.

10.1 FCC Radiated Emission Specifications.

10.2 Physical Mechanisms of Radiation.

10.2.1 Differential-Mode Radiation.

10.2.2 Common-Mode Radiation.

10.2.3 Wave Impedance.

10.3 Decoupling and Choking.

10.3.1 High-Frequency Decoupling at the System Level.

10.3.2 Choking Cables and Localized Power and Ground Planes.

10.3.3 Low-Frequency Decoupling and Ground Isolation.

10.4 Additional PCB Design Criteria, Package Considerations, and Pin-Outs.

10.4.1 Placement of High-Speed Components and Traces.

10.4.2 Crosstalk.

10.4.3 Pin Assignments and Package Choice.

10.5 Enclosure (Chassis) Considerations.

10.5.1 Shielding Basics.

10.5.2 Apertures.

10.5.3 Resonances.

10.6 Spread Spectrum Clocking.

11. High-Speed Measurement Techniques.

11.1 Digital Oscilloscopes.

11.1.1 Bandwidth.

11.1.2 Sampling.

11.1.3 Other Effects.

11.1.4 Statistics.

11.2 Time-Domain Reflectometry.

11.2.1 TDR Theory.

11.2.2 Measurement Factors.

11.3 TDR Accuracy.

11.3.1 Launch Parasitics.

11.3.2 Probe Types.

11.3.3 Reflections.

11.3.4 Interface Transmission Loss.

11.3.5 Cable Loss.

11.3.6 Amplitude Offset Error.

11.4 Impedance Measurement.

11.4.1 Accurate Characterization of Impedance.

11.4.2 Measurement Region in TDR Impedance Profile.

11.5 Odd- and Even-Mode Impedance.

11.6 Crosstalk Noise.

11.7 Propagation Velocity.

11.7.1 Length Difference Method.

11.7.2 Y-Intercept Method.

11.7.3 TDT Method.

11.8 Vector Network Analyzer.

11.8.1 Introduction to S Parameters.

11.8.2 Equipment.

11.8.3 One-Port Measurements (ZO,L,C).

11.8.4 Two-Port Measurements (Td, Attenuation, Crosstalk).

11.8.5 Calibration.

11.8.6 Calibration for One-Port Measurements.

11.8.7 Calibration for Two-Port Measurements.

11.8.8 Calibration Verification.

Appendix A: Alternative Characteristic Impedance Formulas.

A.1 Microstrip.

A.2 Symmetric Stripline.

A.3 Offset Stripline.

Appendix B: GTL Current-Mode Analysis.

B.1 Basic GTL Operation.

B.2 GTL Transitions When a Middle Agent Is Driving.

B.3 GTL Transitions When an End Agent With a Termination Is Driving.

B.4 Transitions When There is a Pull-Up at the Middle Agent.

Appendix C: Frequency-Domain Components in a Digital Signal.

Appendix D: Useful S-Parameter Conversions.

D.1 ABCD, Z, and Y Parameters.

D.2 Normalizing the S Matrix to a Different Characteristic Impedance.

D.3 Derivation of the Formulas Used to Extract the Mutual Inductance and Capacitance from a Short Structure Using S21 Measurements.

D.4 Derivation of the Formula to Extract Skin Effect Resistance from a Transmission Line.

Appendix E: Definition of the Decibel.

Appendix F: FCC Emission Limits.



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This book covers the practical and theoretical aspects necessary to design modern high-speed digital systems at the platform level. The book walks the reader through every required concept, from basic transmission line theory to digital timing analysis, high-speed measurement techniques, as well as many other topics. In doing so, a unique balance between theory and practical applications is achieved that will allow the reader not only to understand the nature of the problem, but also provide practical guidance to the solution. The level of theoretical understanding is such that the reader will be equipped to see beyond the immediate practical application and solve problems not contained within these pages. Much of the information in this book has not been needed in past digital designs but is absolutely necessary today. Most of the information covered here is not covered in standard college curricula, at least not in its focus on digital design, which is arguably one of the most significant industries in electrical engineering.

The focus of this book is on the design of robust high-volume, high-speed digital products such as computer systems, with particular attention paid to computer busses. However, the theory presented is applicable to any high-speed digital system. all of the techniques covered in this book have been applied in industry to actual digital products that have been successfully produced and sold in high volume.

Practicing engineers and graduate and undergraduate students who have completed basic electromagnetic or microwave design classes are equipped to fully comprehend the theory presented in this book. at a practical level, however, basic circuit theory is all the background required to apply the formulas in this book.

Chapter 1 describes why it is important to comprehend the lessons taught in this book. (authored by Garrett Hall)

Chapter 2 introduces basic transmission line theory and terminology with specific digital focus. This chapter forms the basis of much of the material that follow. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapters 3 and 4 introduce crosstalk effects, explain their relevance to digital timings, and explore nonideal transmission line effects. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapter 5 explains the impact of chip packages, vias, connectors, and many other aspects that affect the performance of a digital system. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapter 6 explains elusive effects such as simultaneous switching noise and nonideal current return path distortions that can devastate a digital design if not properly accounted for. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapter 7 discusses different methods that can be used to model the output buffers that are used to drive digital signals onto a bus. (authored by Garrett Hall)

Chapter 8 explains in detail several methods of system level digital timing. It describes the theory behind different timing schemes and relates them to the high-speed digital effects described throughout the book. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapter 9 addresses one of the most far-reaching challenges that is likely to be encountered: handling the very large number of variables affecting a system and reducing them to a manageable methodology. This chapter explains how to make an intractable problem tractable. It introduces a specific design methodology that has been used to produce very high performance digital products. (authored by Stephen Hall)

Chapter 10 covers the subject of radiated emissions, which causes great fear in the hearts of system designers because radiated emission problems usually cannot be addressed until a prototype has been built, at which time changes can be very costly and time-constrained. (authored by Garrett Hall)

Chapter 11 covers the practical aspects of making precision measurements in high-speed digital systems. (authored by James McCall)

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