Silicon Labs Unveils Automotive Timing Portfolio, Emphasizing Ease of Use for OEMs and SuppliersSeptember 25, 2019 by Gary Elinoff
SiLabs wants to be the one-stop shop for designers of ADAS and infotainment systems, Ethernet switches, and 5G applications.
Silicon Labs has launched what it describes as the industry’s broadest portfolio of automotive-grade timing solutions designed to meet the demanding clocking needs of in-vehicle systems. The AEC-Q100-qualified devices include:
- Si5332x Any-frequency programmable clock generators
- Si5335x Fanout clock buffers.
- Si5225x PCIe Gen1/2/3/4/5 clocks
- Si5325x PCIe buffers
Silicon Labs’ Portfolio of automotive-grade timing solutions. Image from Silicon Labs
These timing devices are all from the same manufacturer, so they are sure to play nicely together. This will serve to help automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers simplify clock tree design and optimize the performance of high-speed serial data transfer, while increasing system reliability.
Today’s Demanding Automotive Environment
Today’s autos feature infotainment and ADAS systems of ever-increasing complexity. Data acquisition rates are faster, and clocking requirements are more demanding, requiring a more diverse mix of frequencies and lower jitter reference clocks.
Automotive developers have previously needed to add ever more quartz crystals and oscillators to their applications to generate the increasing number of reference clocks advanced systems required. This has necessitated a larger PCB footprint, higher BOM costs, and—to designers' chagrin—compromised system reliability. And such methodologies were not inexpensive as high precision, low-jitter oscillators are expensive. Automotive-grade components especially command a premium price.
Silicon Labs hopes to designers can now avoid using an ever-increasing number of quartz-based components to satisfy a growing list of timing requirements. Automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers can now simplify their clock tree designs, increase system reliability and optimize the performance of high-speed serial data transfer through the use of this suite of clock generators and buffers available.
According to James Wilson, the General Manager of Timing Products at Silicon Labs, silicon-based timing solutions have been a steady presence in applications such as data centers, communications, and others. He believes that the benefits of these solutions have been seen in their reliability, performance, and lower BOM costs, boons that he believes are being passed on to the automotive space here: “Our new automotive-grade timing portfolio—the broadest in the industry—provides these same benefits to automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and other automotive technology companies delivering innovations that are redefining how we drive, navigate, and experience our cars.”
Consolidating Multiple Reference Clocks into a Single Clock Generator IC
The Si5332 automotive clock generators support up to eight clock outputs. They leverage Silicon Labs’ MultiSynth technology to provide any-frequency, any-output clock synthesis, and SI maintains that it does so with more than 60 percent lower jitter than competing automotive clock solutions. The device interfaces to a broad range of FPGAs, ASICs, Ethernet switches/PHYs, processors, GPUs, SoCs, and PCIe Gen1/2/3/4/5 and NVLink SerDes.
Si5225x PCIe Gen1/2/3/4/5 clock generators support four or eight clock outputs, depending on the version. Phase jitter is specified at 0.04 (RMS), and the output format is HCSL (high-speed current steering logic).
ClockBuilder Pro Software
This package can help designers to customize and configure Si5332 clock generators and Si5335x clock buffers. Through ClockBuilder Pro software, designers can create optimized solutions that match specific clock tree requirements, with samples shipping in less than two weeks.
In an effort to help developers get their products to market faster, the individual member devices of Silicon Labs automotive timing portfolio each have development kits available.
Have you designed for automotive systems before? Do you find it helpful when companies like Silicon Labs collect components together into application-specific families like these? Share your thoughts in the comments below.