Applying Common Techniques for Reducing Clock Skew - 2021.2 English

Versal ACAP System Integration and Validation Methodology Guide (UG1388)

Document ID
Release Date
2021.2 English
Tip: Given the flexibility of the Versal device clocking architecture, the report_methodology command contains checks to aid you in creating an optimal clocking topology.

The following techniques cover the most common scenarios:

  • Avoid timing paths between cascaded clock buffers by eliminating unnecessary buffers or connecting them in parallel as shown in the following figure.
Figure 1. Synchronous Clocking Topology with Cascaded BUFG Reconnected in Parallel

  • Combine parallel clock buffers into a single clock buffer and connect any clock buffer clock enable logic to the corresponding sequential cell enable pins, as shown on figure below. If some of the clocks are divided by the buffer's built-in divider, implement the equivalent division with clock enable logic and apply multicycle path timing exceptions as needed. When both rising and falling clock edges are used by the downstream logic or when power is an important factor, this technique might not be applicable.
    Figure 2. Synchronous Clocking Topology with Parallel Clock Buffer Recombined into a Single Buffer

  • Remove LUTs or any combinatorial logic in clock paths as they make clock delays and clock skew unpredictable during placement, resulting in lower quality of results. Also, a portion of the clock path is routed with general interconnect resources which are more sensitive to noise than global clocking resources. Combinatorial logic usually comes from sub-optimal clock gating conversion and can usually be moved to clock enable logic, either connected to the clock buffer or to the sequential cells.

    In the following figure, the first BUFG (clk1_buf) is used in LUT3 to create a gated clock condition.

    Figure 3. Skew Due to Local Routing on Clock Network

Important: To learn best practices and verify that your design complies with the clocking guidelines, see this link in the Versal ACAP Hardware, IP, and Platform Development Methodology Guide (UG1387).