RE: [SI-LIST] : 8b/10b

Mellitz, Richard ([email protected])
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 06:53:57 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: D. C. Sessions [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 7:24 PM
To: SI-List
Subject: [SI-LIST] : 8b/10b

Mike Degerstrom wrote:
> On Sep 20, 2:24pm, D. C. Sessions wrote:
> > Subject: Re: [SI-LIST] : RE: Another decoupling
> > Mike Degerstrom wrote:
> > > On Sep 20, 10:39am, D. C. Sessions wrote:

> > > > IMHO the best bet for minimizing SSO transients is
to use balanced codes
> > > > such as 8b/10b so that there isn't any substantial
common-mode current.
> > > > Actually saves pins and cuts jitter too.
> > >
> > > Not sure where you are coming from here. 8b/10b will
work if you
> > > have a DC block in your system. But for SSO
transients you've got
> > > to get current supplied during the switching event -
not just average
> > > out the current demand over 10 bits.
> >
> > Parallel 8b/10b. Explained in another message.
> OK, I just read in more detail your explanation of
parallel 8b/10b.
> First off, what is your worst case switch imbalance?

There are 254 codes with 5 high and 5 low. Add one each
with 6/4 and
the worst case imbalanced transition goes from 6 high/4 low
to 4 high
and 6 low (or vice versa). Either way the unbalanced
currents go out
not only over the supplies but over the other signal lines
(so the net
supply inductance is pretty low.)

Secondly, you
> seem to be more concerned about balancing current going
> the off-chip (on-board) termination supply.

That's just one consideration. If the off-chip termination
supply doesn't
have to handle large unbalanced currents it takes quite a
bit of cost out
of the system. It also does a lot towards reducing EMI.

> I would think
> noise on the termination supply is much less of a concern
> noise on the chip power or ground supplies (SSO).

For performance, yes. For EMI, probably. For cost, maybe.
Fortunately all three are in the same direction so the
is somewhat academic.

> > > Can the confusion be that you have a single rail
output driver, such
> > > as GTL, in mind whereas many of us are thinking more
of a two-rail
> > > output driver such as LVTTL or full-swing CMOS?
> >
> > Wash your mouth!
> >
> > Actually, I *have* done some really fast current-mode
stuff that had
> > to be open-drain because we couldn't manage the
crossover distortion
> > across process. I'd rather everyone forgot it, though,
and GTL is
> > one sin I've never committed. Push-pull is *much* more
fun. (e.g.,
> > SSTL, HSTL, GLVDS, etc.)
> Not having designed with SSTL and HSTL, I'm guessing that
> these I/O are terminated with 50 ohms to some VTT supply.

Yuppers. You can get the details at

> HIGH and LOW state currents must be high enough so that
> one pin switches from HIGH to LOW and another switches
> LOW to HIGH, then dI/dt current into both ground and power
> supplies is approximately zero?

Two and oh.

> If so, then parallel
> can be attractive if the worst case SSO event is still
> well balanced.


> We are looking into the future and realize that full swing
> CMOS won't cut it. My thoughts were that GTL was a good
> So your comments on GTL are timely. Four questions:
> 1) Do you envision push-pull to be more attractive as you
> can split dI/dt noise between power and ground rails
> with GTL it all gets dumped into ground).

That's one reason.
Dumping into ground is not always bad. Returning to ground
makes it easier to handle transmission line return current on the PWB.
> 2) Can you explain what you meant by "crossover

A push-pull rising edge has to coordinate the turnoff of the
pulldown with the turnon of the pullup. In the analog camp
the unavoidable noice accompanying the transition from
to sourcing current is called "crossover distortion" and for
want of a better term I use it to describe the jitter that
can be introduced in digital signaling under the same

> 3) Why were you so negative on GTL?

GTL is slow, noisy, and burns lots of power. If that's what
you need, you're in luck.

Slow because an open-drain signaling system is extremely
to line impedance mismatch. Noisy because the currents are
and and tend to form large loops. Power-hungry because the
signaling requires that common-mode potential be maintained
by current
in the terminators.
From a board designer perspective the simple view of the
problem with GTL is managing the turn off. All that D.C. mentioned follows.

> 4) What is GLVDS?

A (currently proprietary) low-swing signaling method that
Ericsson uses.
Stands for Ground-referenced Low-Voltage Differential

D. C. Sessions
[email protected]

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