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Enable Clock Domain Crossing on AXI4-Lite Interfaces

Since R2024a

When you generate an IP Core Generation, if you want to run the register interface at a slower clock frequency than your high-frequency design under test (DUT) algorithm, you can select the Enable clock domain crossing on AXI4-Lite registers setting in the Generate RTL Code and IP Core task in the HDL Workflow Advisor.

When you enable clock domain crossing (CDC), HDL Coder™ inserts CDC and back pressure logic that crosses the signals from the AXI4-Lite clock domain to the IP core clock domain, or from the IP core clock domain to the AXI4-Lite clock domain.

Block diagram showing the clock frequency requirements for the DUT algorithm and AXI4-Lite interfaces

This image shows the generated IP core. When you enable CDC, you can connect different clock signals to the IP core clock IPCORE_CLK and AXI4-Lite interface clock AXI4_Lite_ACLK. When you disable CDC, you must connect the same clock signal to the IP core clock and AXI4-Lite interface clock. For more information on how to connect the clock signals, see Custom IP Core Generation.

Generated IP core with displayed pins

When you export the HDL Workflow Advisor run to a script, you can observe the saved CDC setting as a hdlset_param command. For example, if you enable the setting on the DUT subsystem in the hdlcoder_led_vector model, you can access the CDC setting by entering:


When you enable CDC, the multi-bit data synchronization is achieved by using a pulse synchronizer and two multi-bit registers. The address decoder repeatedly uses this implementation to cross the signals to and from each clock domain. This image shows the architecture that the CDC implementation uses.

Clock domain crossing infrastructure with a pulse synchronizer and multi-bit registers

The additional CDC logic introduces latency and back pressure on the AXI4-Lite interface due to the added latency to the read and write operations. However, because the ARM® processor that accesses the AXI registers on the SoC boards has a larger latency, the introduced latency has minimal impact. In addition, there are no dependencies between the clock frequency for the DUT IP core and the AXI4-Lite clock frequency.

The synthesis tool requires timing constraints to analyze the paths in the CDC logic. HDL Coder generates these constraints and outputs them as a Xilinx Design Constraints (XDC) file and packages the file with the generated IP core. This code snippet presents the XDC file generated for use with the Xilinx® Vivado® environment.

# AXI4-Lite CDC constraints:
set falsepathregcells [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="synchronizer_false_path"}]
set falsepathregpins [get_pins -of_objects $falsepathregcells -filter {REF_PIN_NAME=="D"}]
set_false_path -to $falsepathregpins
set startreglist_axitoip [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_startpoint_axi_to_ip"}]
set endreglist_axitoip [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_endpoint_axi_to_ip"}]
set reg_axitoip [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_clk_axi_to_ip"}]
set clk_axitoip [get_clocks -of $reg_axitoip]
set clk_period_axitoip [get_property PERIOD $clk_axitoip]
set_max_delay -from $startreglist_axitoip -to $endreglist_axitoip -datapath_only $clk_period_axitoip -quiet
set startreglist_iptoaxi [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_startpoint_ip_to_axi"}]
set endreglist_iptoaxi [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_endpoint_ip_to_axi"}]
set reg_iptoaxi [get_cells -hier -filter {cdc_info=="max_delay_clk_ip_to_axi"}]
set clk_iptoaxi [get_clocks -of $reg_iptoaxi]
set clk_period_iptoaxi [get_property PERIOD $clk_iptoaxi]
set_max_delay -from $startreglist_iptoaxi -to $endreglist_iptoaxi -datapath_only $clk_period_iptoaxi -quiet

The HDL Coder generated constraints add maximum delay and false path constraints to sets of registers that are part of the CDC synchronizing circuits. HDL Coder finds these registers by searching the synthesis netlist for the cdc_info ATTRIBUTE keyword. This approach is more reliable than just looking for patterns in module or signal names. This code snippet shows an example of the use of the cdc_info keyword in one of the address decoder modules netlists:

ATTRIBUTE cdc_info : string;
ATTRIBUTE cdc_info OF s_level_2FlopSync1 : SIGNAL IS "synchronizer_false_path";

You must set your Synthesis Tool to Xilinx Vivado to use CDC for the AXI4-Lite interface.

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