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Inverter chain

With regards to the image above, I wanted to know what is the importance of Fan Out of 4 (FO4) for optimum design and what improvements does it incur over designs that are either higher or lower than fan out of 4?

Also, with respect to the picture, what are the issues seen in circuits 1 ,2 and 4 as compared to circuit 3 with N=3, F=4, TP=15?

N = number of stages F = fan out TP = propagation delay

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The fanout-4 inverters are simply a design metrics, a benchmark in silicon manufacturing for characterization of a typical delay. It is used to compare efficiency of different manufacturing nodes. There is no special significance, just an accepted metrics.

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