Device Family: Stratix® V E, Stratix® V GS, Stratix® V GT, Stratix® V GX

Type: Answers

Area: EMIF, Intellectual Property

IP Product: Renewal RLDRAM II Controller

Critical Warning (181053): PLL output counters driving PHY_CLKBUF {Hierarchy_Path}:pll0|uphy_clkbuf_memphy are not recommended for use in the memory IP PHY clock tree and timing models may not be correct.


You may encounter this warning message when compiling UniPHY based controller in Quartus® II software version 11.1SP2.


In Stratix® V devices, only certain PLL output counters have matched skew and other output counters can have up to maximum of 250 to 300ps of skew. This warning message is caused due to PHY clocks being placed on to the counters with high skew. Currently there is no mechanism to ensure that the PLL counters driving PHY clocks are placed into the low skew locations.


You will not see the warning message in Quartus II software versions before 11.1SP2 and this skew between the counters is not captured by TimeQuest, so it is possible to have up to 300ps of clock uncertainty that is not accounted for by TimeQuest.


This issue affects any transfers between PHY clock driven flip-flops and flip-flops driven by another clock.


Key concerns are

-        Core to periphery transfers (GCLK-PHYCLK)

-        Any half-rate to full-rate transfer (PHYCLK-PHYCLK)

For each PLL, low skew counters are the 1st four and last four counters. Counters 0-3 and 14-17 are matched together i.e. counters 0 and 5 have a large relative skew, as do counters 0 and 16 but 0 and 2 do not, nor do 15 and 16.


The workaround is to add the following to the QSF:

n  set_location_assignment <PLL counter location> -to <PLL output signal>,  for example: set_location_assignment PLLOUTPUTCOUNTER_X210_Y129_N1 -to {Hierarachy_Path}:pll0|in_phyclk[2]

Set the locations of all of the offending PLL counters to either locations [0-3] or [14-17] (but not mixing the two – i.e. not 2 and 15); counter numbers can be inferred from the error message and the XY location, the counter numbers are always contiguous i.e. If PLLOUTPUTCOUNTER_X210_Y129_N1 is counter 0 and PLLOUTPUTCOUNTER_X210_Y125_N1 is counter 4, then counters 1, 2 and 3 will be at Y128, 127 and 126 respectively.