Circuit Aging Becoming A Critical Consideration


Circuit aging was considered somebody else's problem when most designs were for chips in consumer applications, but not anymore. Much of this reflects a shift in markets. When most chips were designed for consumer electronics, such as smart phones, designs typically were replaced every couple of years. But with the mobile phone market flattening, and as chips increasingly are used in automot... » read more

Why Chips Are Getting Noisier


In the past, designers only had to worry about noise for sensitive analog portions of a design. Digital circuitry was immune. But while noise gets worse at newer process nodes, staying at 28nm does not mean that it can be ignored anymore. With Moore's Law slowing, designs have to do more with less. Margins are being squeezed, additional concurrency is added, and attempts are made to opti... » read more

Waiting For Chiplet Interfaces


There aren't many success stories related to chiplets today for a very simple reason—there are few standard interfaces defined for how to connect them. In fact, the only way to use them is to control both sides of the interface with a proprietary interface and protocol. The one exception is the definition of HBM2, which enables large quantities of third-party DRAM to be connected to a logi... » read more

HBM2 Vs. GDDR6: Tradeoffs In DRAM


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about new DRAM options and considerations with Frank Ferro, senior director of product management at Rambus; Marc Greenberg, group director for product marketing at Cadence; Graham Allen, senior product marketing manager for DDR PHYs at Synopsys; and Tien Shiah, senior manager for memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. What follows are excerpts of th... » read more

In-Chip Monitoring Becoming Essential Below 10nm


Rising systemic complexity and more potential interactions in heterogeneous designs is making it much more difficult to ensure a chip, or even a block within a chip, will functioning properly without actually monitoring that behavior in real-time. Continuous and sporadic monitoring have been creeping into designs for the past couple of decades. But it hasn’t always been clear how effective... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Builds, Despite Tradeoffs


Chip design is a series of tradeoffs. Some are technical, others are related to cost, competitive features or legal restrictions. But with the nascent 'chiplet' market, many of the established balance points are significantly altered, depending on market segments and ecosystem readiness. Chiplets provide an alternative mechanism for integrating intellectual property (IP) blocks into a semico... » read more

The Growing Uncertainty Of Sign-Off At 7/5nm


Having enough confidence in designs to sign off prior to manufacturing is becoming far more difficult at 7/5nm. It is taking longer due to increasing transistor density, thinner gate oxides, and many more power-related operations that can disrupt signal integrity and impact reliability.  For many years, designers have performed design rule checks as part of physical verification of the desi... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

Raising The Abstraction Level For Power


Power-aware design is still a relatively new concern for many semiconductor products, and since inception it has changed several times and in different ways. Initially people were concerned about peak power. Today, they care about peak, total energy, thermal and other effects. The industry has tried several abstractions ranging from system-level analysis, which promised to swamp implementati... » read more

Designing For The Edge


Chip and system architectures are beginning to change as the tech industry comes to grips with the need to process more data locally for latency, safety, and privacy/security reasons. The emergence of the intelligent edge is an effort to take raw data from endpoints, extract the data that requires immediate action, and forward other data to various local, regional or commercial clouds. The b... » read more

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