A Refreshing Opportunity

By Jack Harding Fifteen years after its debut as a silicon strategy the SoC is finally in full bloom worldwide. In its simplest configuration it consists of a processor, memory, I/O and the RTL crafted by the customer that defines its functionality and application. For each of the four major elements we have evolved down a different strategic path. For the processor, ARM, MIPS and a couple ... » read more

What’s the cheapest package that will work?

By Javier DeLaCruz, So often, I come across questions from customers asking what’s the lowest cost package technology that will work. The package by itself should not be the singular focus when considering the lowest-cost solution for a new ASIC. The best approach is to take a few steps back and consider the system and what would work best for that given system, from a variety of standpoint... » read more

Just Kidding

By Jack Harding I can remember back to 1995 and the first time I heard Joe Costello at Cadence speak publicly about the “disaggregation of the supply chain.” Disaggregation? Was that even a word in Webster’s Dictionary? It didn’t matter because, like many other concepts championed by Joe, it was the word every journalist and analyst in the semiconductor space was using to describe t... » read more

Why Settle For Good Enough

By Kalar Rajendiran The title of this article is missing a punctuation mark at the end and that is by design. Some readers may read it as a question and some others as a statement, depending on their frame of mind and the particular task they are focused on at that time. This article, although not intended to be a psychoanalysis of how people see and interpret what they see, does highlight how... » read more

What’s With That Big Package?

By Javier DeLaCruz As SerDes data rates have been going up for years, and 10-Gbps interfaces have been becoming commonplace, I figured a few years ago that pin counts on packages would start going down. Boy, was I wrong on that prediction! The trend instead was to put more of those high-speed interfaces on devices. For years, a 45×45mm body size was really the upper limit on organic f... » read more

Don’t Leave Money On The Table

By Jack Harding The vast majority of private fabless semiconductor companies are venture funded and, rationally, anticipate an exit through acquisition. The statistics around achieving an exit via an IPO are daunting, at best. But, as we have all read, the valuations are much lower than they once were. One of the reasons is the recent valuations of the acquirers are lower. But there is ano... » read more

Misuse Of Thermal Numbers

By Javier DeLaCruz So many of us in the semiconductors realm are guilty of using JEDEC thermal data incorrectly. I often get questions such as “how much power can this package handle” or “what’s the thermal efficiency of this package.” Unfortunately, in almost all situations these questions cannot be generally answered. The numbers we throw around for thermal performance come fr... » read more

The Changing Supply Chain

By Kalar Rajendiran In efforts to improve product quality AND cut development and production costs while decreasing time to market, fabless semiconductor companies (FSCs) and OEMs have outsourced functions that didn’t add value to their products and to the company’s bottom line. Over the past 20+ years, they’ve outsourced EDA tools, test and packaging, IP core development and of course... » read more

Synopsys Plus Virage: Combinatorics Or Common Sense?

By Jack Harding It should be no surprise. The industry has been consolidating and expanding and consolidating for nearly 40 years. So when Virage Logic was gobbled up by Synopsys and Denali was ingested by Cadence, it is really a lot more of the same. Or is it? There is a difference. Synopsys has made it crystal clear that its definition of EDA now permanently includes IP. Not that acquirin... » read more

Getting To Market Faster

By Jack Harding IP reusability has been a drumbeat in the semiconductor industry for a dozen years or more. The thesis is simple: Why build again what you already have? And with most durable, simple statements, the foundation is profundity. The basic need has yielded breakthrough innovation from IP companies large and small. EDA methodologies to “assemble” blocks from pre-existing inven... » read more

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