A Short Note on Automatic Clock Gates Insertion

June 13, 2007

As we discussed before, clock gating is one of the most solid logic design techniques, which one can use when aiming for low power design.
It is only natural that most tools on the market support an automatic clock gating insertion option. Here is a quote from a synopsys article describing their power compiler tool

…Module clock gating can be used at the architectural level to disable the clock to parts of the design that are not in use. Synopsys’ Power Compiler™ helps replace the clock gating logic inserted manually, gating the clock to any module using an Integrated Clock Gating (ICG) cell from the library. The tool automatically identifies such combinational logic…

But what does it really mean? What is this combinational logic that the tool “recognizes”?

The answer is relatively simple. Imagine a flip-flop with an enable signal. Implementation wise, this is done with a normal flip-flop and a MUX before with a feedback path to preserve the logical value of the flop when the enable is low. This is equivalent to a flop with the MUX removed and the enable signal controlling the enable of a clock gate cell, which in turn drives the clock for the flip-flop.

The picture below is better than any verbal explanation.



  1. Hi Nir,

    I stumbled upon your blog through google while searching for some stuff. I have started liking the stuff you write and am looking for more.
    Keep up the good work and do post more articles.


  2. Hi

    I also came across you website while searching some stuff. I must say it is a very good informative site. I must say you r doing a great job..


  3. Hi,

    I think you did a great job on the website. I’ve been preparing for job interviews and this is an excellent review checklist on different design topics. Thank you! Please keep up the good work!!

  4. hi Jay,

    I am thinking of people like yourself when I am writing posts.
    many thanks on the warm comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: