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[f-cpu] 'make it work' or 'make it fast' ?


since i am studying at ASIME, i have learnt some
basics about using the "homemade" Alliance toolchain.

I can make several reproaches about it : it is "a bit heavy",
does not comply to the VHDL standard coding practices,
but i begin to realize that it is not really a VHDL tool :
in fact it is more a synthesis tool. It has the advantage
that you can design masks relatively easily and quickly.

However, from what i can see, the use of their precharacterised
library is not the best way to make a "fast" CPU, if you consider
that if you want to make custom ASIC, you want to get all
the power you expect from this. On one side, you reduce the
pressure on the post-synthesis tools (timing/parasitics/etc)
but on the other side, you can get almost the same speed
(and probably more) with the latest FPGAs (who support the
most recent synthesis algorithms with fully VHDL compliant sources).
This is because, from what i have seen, their strategy is
underefficient, particularly with P&R and post-layout compression
(there's often wasted surface). This is maybe my PCB designer's eyes
that tell me that.

But i can't deny that having a working F-CPU sooner is attracting.
So there's the old dilemma : do we sacrifice source portability,
clock speed and high-level synthesis ? Or do we accept to go the
route of early prototypes ?
It would be cool if Alliance accepted VHDL'93 sources, or even
FOR .. GENERATE loops !!!

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