(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,381,293 Bi
Lee et al. (45) Date of Patent: Apr. 30,2002
(54) APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SERIAL DATA COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PLURALITY OF CHIPS IN A CHIP SET
(75) Inventors: David Lee, Hsinchu; Cheng-Wang Huang, Chupei, both of (TW)
(73) Assignee: United Microelectronics Corp.,
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/241,729
(22) Filed: Feb. 2, 1999
Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation-in-part of application No. 08/626,948, filed on Apr. 3, 1996, now Pat. No. 5,963,609.
(51) Int. CI.7 H04L 23/00
(52) U.S. CI 375/377; 713/400; 713/600
(58) Field of Search 375/354, 377,
375/371, 372, 356, 219, 220; 370/359, 503, 507; 713/400, 500, 600
Primary Examiner—-Jean Corrielus (57) ABSTRACT
An apparatus for serial data communication between a plurality of IC chips with a reduced number of inter-chip signal lines. In the apparatus, one IC chip acts as a master, while the other chip(s) are slaved to it. In response to conditions internal to the master chip or in response to a request from at least one of the slave chips, the master chip generates a transfer control signal and a synchronization clock signal. The transfer control signal defines a transfer phase during which data transfer among the chips can take place. The chips take turns sending and receiving data in a multiplexed fashion, with sending and receiving parties designated by a count of synchronization clock signal cycles. The synchronization clock signal is generated at a high frequency, to allow fast data transfer.
26 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets