Processor (CPU) IP Cores Overview

In the semiconductor industry, an IP core is a building block that has been developed by a company and is sellable.  In todays SoC designs, many IP blocks are used. The most common one is a processor (CPU) IP core. In this article we will describe the processor IP cores in the market and provide information regarding the selection process.


Selecting a Processor IP


There are a number of different factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing a CPU IP. This criteria includes elements such as CPU performance, power consumption, memory, supporting peripherals, industry requirements, and overall costs. Performance, power consumption, and functionality of the core should be the primary parameters that guide your final decision.



The most important parameter to judge a CPU system is its performance. You want the processor to be fast enough to fulfil your requirements. A good way to select a CPU is to shortlist a few options and run trial simulations with your code to formulate your own benchmarks.



You will have to go for a processor  IP that is able to support the entirety of your software program and the additional data memory. Remember: most microcontrollers have a limited amount of address space, which is why you need to search for a solution that can accommodate your program.



Keep in mind that if you are investing in a processor with great performance, it is also going to increase the power consumption. If you look around, you will be able to find solutions that offer high performance with low power consumption.



The supporting peripherals that accompany your CPU are just as important as the unit itself. Since you are paying an additional cost for them, you will want to maximize their potential. Ideally, you will want to go with a processor whose peripherals overlap with the technology your application requires for execution. This results in cost savings, which is a welcome bonus.


Size & Costs

The costs associated with a CPU IP are very important to take into consideration. These are both costs related to the core size (=silicon size) Not only should the price of the core itself fall within your budget, but you also need to think about the training costs, supporting development tools, and peripherals you will need to maximize the use of the processor. Make sure to check all the cost associate with the core such as silicon size, and royalties.


Looking for RISC V IP core, please check this article


Processors IP Cores Vendors


In this part, we will show some processor IP Core companies and also some of their products.



CAST was founded in 1993 and has always focused on reusable IP cores. We have helped thousands of companies worldwide gain a competitive edge, and they have built our IP into billions of shipping product units. One-third of our sales are to repeat customers.






eSi-RISC, founded in London in 2010, is a privately owned and revenue funded semiconductor IP (Intellectual Property) design company. We design and license the eSi-RISC range of configurable, low-power, RISC CPU IP cores for use in ASIC and FPGA SoCs, as well as associated peripheral IP and software development tools.





IP Cores Inc

Founded in 2004 Privately held California corporation with offices in Palo Alto and San Diego. IP Cores, Inc. specializes in IP cores for semiconductors, primarily in the security and cryptography area as well as few compression and DSP cores. Whatever your needs are in the areas of hardware encryption (AES/DES/SNOW3G/ZUC and other ciphers, MACsec, IPsec, SSL/TLS, IEEE 802.16e, P1619, 802.1AE),  content protection, lossless compression, LDPC/Reed-Solomon FEC, or FFT, our IP cores are usually the smallest, fastest, and lowest-cost choices on the market.





VeriSilicon Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (VeriSilicon, 688521.SH) is committed to providing customers with platform-based, all-round, one-stop custom silicon services and semiconductor IP licensing services leveraging its in-house semiconductor IP.  VeriSilicon presents a variety of customized silicon solutions, including high-definition video, high-definition audio and voice, in-vehicle infotainment, video surveillance, IoT connectivity, smart wearable, high-end application processor, video transcoding acceleration and intelligent pixel processing, etc. In addition, VeriSilicon has six types of in-house processor IPs, namely GPU IP, NPU IP, VPU IP, DSP IP, ISP IP and Display Processor IP, as well as more than 1,400 analog and mixed signal IPs and RF IPs. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Shanghai, China, VeriSilicon has 7 design and R&D centers in China and the United States, as well as 11 sales and customer service offices worldwide. VeriSilicon currently has more than 1,200 employees.




Think Silicon

Think Silicon is a leading provider of ultra-low power GPU IP for embedded systems. The high-performance graphics IP technology targets ultra-low power and area-limited devices, such as wearables, home control appliances and home entertainment devices. Think Silicon customers include many leading fabless semiconductor companies, CSPs and design houses worldwide.





High quality synthesizable IP Cores of processors and microcontrollers, bus interfaces, arithmetic coprocessors and components. What distinguishes us from other IP Core providers? We believe, that the Power of Intellectual Property goes together with the Power of Innovation. That’s why, the key to our unique solutions is a combination of customers’ application know-how with almost two decades of our own design methodology reinforced with IP Cores and System-on-Chip knowledge.




Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies Limited is a British semiconductor and software design company owned by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a private equity fund based in Beijing that is ultimately owned by the Chinese government. With its global headquarters in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, its primary business is in the design of PowerVR mobile graphics processors (GPUs), neural network accelerators for AI processing, and networking routers. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired in November 2017 by Canyon Bridge.





Synopsys technology is at the heart of innovations that are changing the way people work and play. Self-driving cars. Machines that learn. Lightning-fast communication across billions of devices in the datasphere. These breakthroughs are ushering in the era of Smart Everything―where devices are getting smarter and connected, and security is an integral part of the design. Powering this new era of innovation are high-performance silicon chips and exponentially growing amounts of software content. Synopsys is at the forefront of Smart Everything with the world’s most advanced technologies for chip design, verification, IP integration, and software security and quality testing. We help our customers innovate from silicon to software so they can bring amazing new products to life.





Cadence is a pivotal leader in electronic systems design, building upon more than 30 years of computational software expertise. The company applies its underlying Intelligent System Design strategy to deliver software, hardware, and IP that turn design concepts into reality.



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