Solving Bottlenecks: Let’s Do The Math

By Gus Lignos

Vice President Sales, MoSys

I hope everyone is hanging in there relative to COVID-19. We are all adjusting to working from home and designers are still architecting their next gen systems. As many of you know, MoSys has been the leader in Serial memory ICs for over a decade. While we are continuing to innovate in providing advanced solutions for Packet Classification and Acceleration technologies for cloud infrastructure, security and analytics markets, I’d like to take this time to remind you of the basic advantages of our Bandwidth Engine family of Acceleration Engine ICs. These solutions were the impetus of MoSys entering the IC business in the first place – solving memory bottlenecks by leveraging Serial interfaces to high capacity, high access rate, intelligent memories.

So, let’s begin by doing a simple comparison to QDR SRAM memory ICs. They remain a viable option for some high access rate applications, but they fall short on many very important design considerations – notably capacity, pricing, PCB layout, IO pins and that all important time to market.

It has taken a while for MoSys to supplant QDR memories since that has been a known solution for many years but once designers became familiar with the benefits of the MoSys devices, they chose Bandwidth Engine devices and never looked back. In fact, we have seen countless examples of designers finding more ways to take advantage of the feature set and we’ve seen our existing customers consistently scale into more applications and platforms.

And while there are many technical benefits, I’ll do the math which will illustrate a benefit near and dear to everyone: System cost. A single MoSys 576Mb Bandwidth Engine 2 (BE2) device replaces 4 QDR 144Mb devices so the savings is literally four to one. In addition,  a single 1Gb BE3 device replaces 8 QDR 144Mb devices so a whopping eight to one savings. The math savings at just the simple component level cost is also significant (1 BE2 costs approximately the same as 2 QDR devices so half the price) and at a cost per bit basis, the cost savings is even more impressive.

It can be unnerving to migrate from something you’re comfortable with (e.g.; QDR) to something new (MoSys Accelerator Engine ICs) but there is no better time to make the switch. In addition to the significant price benefits, the other technical benefits should make the decision to migrate away from QDR designs easy. Those benefits are:

  • Memory capacity – table sizes and data rates continue to grow so a BE device is 4-8x more capacity to meet those needs
  • Signal I/O pins – 32 Serial pins with MoSys devices vs. 500+ QDR pins
  • Board space, PCB routing and signal integrity benefits – we’ve seen designs no longer able to fit multiple QDR devices on a PCB – there’s just not enough space and if there is, routing and Signal Integrity issues abound
  • Customers tell us that the ease of doing designs with MoSys serial memories reduces board design time by 4-8 weeks, which is huge
  • More flexibility in placement of the external memory affords less exotic thermal solutions
  • On chip functions like Arithmetic Logic Units for single cycle counters, burst functions and in high end devices, on-chip RISC cores enable features to be added that QDR cannot
  • And did I mention cost savings?  Please see above. The math is simple and the cost savings real.

For these reasons, MoSys welcomes the opportunity to go through your specific design goals and help you evaluate the tradeoffs. Like our other customers who’ve done it, I think you’ll like what you find. Please contact us and we’ll set up a call and as always, I am happy to do the math with you and show you how MoSys solutions can save you money.

Thank you and I wish you and your families remain safe during the Shelter in Place world we are currently operating in.

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