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Conditional Signal Assignment

Used In

  • Architecture

Reference Manual

VHDL-93:
  • Section 9.5.1

Syntax

signal_name <= expression_1 when condition_1 else
               expression_2 when condition_2 else expression_3;
label: signal_name <= expression_1 when condition_1 else expression_3;

Rules and Examples

Each condition is a boolean expression:

architecture COND of BRANCH is
begin
    Z <= A when X > 5 else
         B when X < 5 else C;
end COND;

Conditions may overlap. The expression corresponding to the first “true” condition is assigned.

architecture COND of BRANCH is
begin
   Z <= A when X =  5 else
        B when X < 10 else C;
end COND;

There must be a final unconditional else expression:

architecture COND of WRONG is
begin
    Z <= A when X > 5;  --illegal
end COND;

The expressions assigned may be delayed. Transport delay mode may also be specified.

Conditional signal assignments may be used to define tri-state buffers, using the std_logic and std_logic_vector type. Note the use of the aggregate form for a vector bus.

architecture COND of TRI_STATE is
    signal TRI_BIT: std_logic;
    signal TRI_BUS: std_logic_vector(0 to 7);
begin
    TRI_BIT <= BIT_1 when EN_1 = '1' else 'Z';
    TRI_BUS <= BUS_1 when EN_2 = '1' else (others => 'Z');
end COND;

The unaffected keyword can be used to indicate a condition when a signal is not given a new assignment:

label: signal <= expression_1 when condition_1 else
                 expression_2 when condition_2 else unaffected;

The keywords inertial and reject may also be used in a conditional signal assignment.

Synthesis Issues

Conditional signal assignments are generally synthesizable.

A conditional signal assignment will usually result in combinational logic being generated. Assignment to ‘Z’ will normally generate tri-state drivers. Assignment to ‘X’ may not be supported.

If a signal is conditionally assigned to itself, latches may be inferred.

A conditional signal assignment can be specified to run as a postponed process.

See Also