Taking a Look Inside a System on Chip (SOP) Essay

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Embedded platforms were initially composed of separate discrete components. The processor was a separate component with just a memory bus interface, and all peripherals were attached to this bus. As integration levels increase, more and more logic is added to the processor die, creating families of application-specific service processors. The term system on chip (SOC) is often used to describe these highly integrated processors. These SOCs include much of the logic and interfaces that are required for a range of specific target applications. The silicon vendors that develop these SOC devices often create families of SOCs all using the same processor core, but with a wide range of integrated capabilities.

SOCs integrate capabilities to …show more content…

Due to its very high level of integration and much shorter wiring, an SoC also uses considerably less power — again, this is a big bonus when it comes to mobile computing. Cutting down on the number of physical chips means that it’s much cheaper to build a computer using an SoC, too.
The only real disadvantage of an SoC is a complete lack of flexibility. With your PC, you can put in a new CPU, GPU, or RAM at any time — you cannot do the same for your smartphone. In the future you might be able to buy SoCs that you can slot in, but because everything is integrated this will be wasteful and expensive if you only want to add more RAM.

The most fundamental characteristic of an SoC is complexity. A memory chip may have many transistors, but its regular structure makes it a component and not a system. Exactly what components are assembled on the SoC varies with the application. Many SoCs contain analog and mixed-signal circuitry for input/output (I/O). Although some high-performance I/O applications require a separate analog interface chip that serves as a companion to a digital SoC, most of an SoC is digital because that is the only way to build such complex functions reliably. The system may contain memory, instruction-set processors (central processing units [CPUs]), specialized logic, busses, and other digital functions. The architecture of the system is generally tailored to the application rather than being a

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