What Is a System on a Chip (SoC)? A Basic Definition Explained [MiniTool Wiki]

What Is a System on a Chip (SoC)?

What is a System on a Chip?

A system on a Chip, also known as a System on Chip or SoC, is a system that puts part of a computer, or some of its circuits, into a single chip. This chip may contain digital circuits, analog circuits, mixed-signal, and RF circuits. The application included in the chip is often referred to as an embedded system.

In a nutshell, we say that the core of a computer is the CPU in the era of the PC, while in the era of the smart terminal, the core of the mobile phone is the SoC. That doesn’t mean an SoC is only used in smartphones. There are some examples of the use of SoC:

  • Automobile communications and navigation panels
  • C4ISR systems and devices
  • Electronic gaming devices
  • Emergency notification devices and systems
  • Laptop and tablet computers
  • Internet of Things
  • Smart TVs, routers, and modems

With its small size and low weight and power requirements, it can perform a series of complicated and important tasks quickly, efficiently, and even automatically.

A traditional motherboard-based computer or electronic device will require a number of basic elements and components while an SoC also has all of those same capabilities, but combined into one microchip.

Components of a System on a Chip (SoC)

In this part, we will introduce some important components a System on a Chip has.

CPU – Central Processing Unit. This is the brain in the SoC. It can help handle many complicated calculations and cope with every other component around.

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GPU - Graphical Processing Unit. This is a kind of Graphics card used to handle visual transformations in the user interface, designed to accelerate graphics rendering, processing many pieces of data simultaneously, and making them useful for machine learning, video editing, and gaming applications.

RAM - Random Access Memory. It allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time, regardless of the physical location of the data within the memory.

ROM - Read Only Memory. As the name implies, it is a solid-state semiconductor memory that can only read data stored in advance. It is a type of storage medium that permanently stores data on personal computers (PCs) and other electronic devices.

Modem – A modem is a network device that both modulates and demodulates analog carrier signals (called sine waves) for encoding and decoding digital information for processing.

The Advantages of a System on a Chip (SOC)

There are some benefits of a System on a Chip:

  1. The chip size is small. With the benefits of MOS technology, SoC chips can realize increased functions, and at the same time, the chip size is greatly reduced.
  2. SoC has a low power consumption. The low-power performance of SOCs can improve the overall service life of electronic devices such as mobile phones.
  3. SoC is reprogrammable. Developers can reprogram SoC chips to reuse IP.
  4. SoC has high reliability. SoC chips can improve circuit security and reduce design complexity.
  5. SoC is cost-effective. Compared with other electronic devices, SoCs have fewer physical components and can be redesigned.
  6. SoC has a faster running speed.
  7. SoC can reduce the cost of cyber security personnel and shorten dwell time and economical effect.
  8. Using SoCs that complement existing security layers (stacks), you can quickly view primary attack vectors while aggregating threat telemetry across a single glass panel and a fleet of managed clients.
  9. When a threat escalates, some SoCs provide remedial assistance, while others provide remedial solutions to address threats, and others offer a combination of the two. Now, SoCs can isolate and contain hazards until they are addressed.

There are some deficiencies of SoC:

  1. Long production cycle. It takes six months to a year for SoC chips to be designed, manufactured, and shipped.
  2. Long design verification time. The design verification of SoC chips accounts for about 70% of the total cycle.
  3. IP core authorization and compatibility greatly affect the time of product launch.
  4. Exponential growth of manufacturing costs.
  5. For small-batch products, SoC is not the best choice.

Bottom Line:

This article has given you some information about a System on a Chip (SoC). Hope this post has clarified its information. If you need any help with that, you can leave your comments.

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