Measuring PPA

Power, Performance and Area (PPA) implementation analysis is often used to compare different processors at a high-level. A PPA analysis measures:

  • Power: The power that is consumed by the processor.
  • Performance: The maximum attainable frequency of the clock driving the processor in this specific implementation.
  • Area: How much silicon area the processor occupies.

Often high-level PPA figures are quoted for processors. However, behind the top-level power, performance and area results there are many variables and details that can dramatically alter these figures. Different implementations target different configurations, for example the cache sizes or inclusion of the Floating Point Unit (FPU), and target different goals, for example aiming to achieve the highest possible frequency or the lowest possible area.

The Power, Performance and Area Implementation Analysis White Paper describes, for those without deep processor implementation knowledge, the many variables that should be understood to get real value from any PPA data presented to enable an estimation of the real PPA of your own implementation. This knowledge will allow you to make fair comparisons between processors, both from a single IP partner or between processors from different processor IP vendors.

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