Containing Design Complexity With POP IP


About 25 years ago, Carver Mead, one of the pioneers of VLSI design, told a technical audience then grappling with the complexities of quarter-micron design that he could see an evolutionary path to about 130nm, but after that point, the picture blurred. Flash forward to the present and we’re manufacturing SoCs at 7nm, and the output is truly amazing devices powering applications we and Me... » read more

Why Chips Die


Semiconductor devices contain hundreds of millions of transistors operating at extreme temperatures and in hostile environments, so it should come as no surprise that many of these devices fail to operate as expected or have a finite lifetime. Some devices never make it out of the lab and many others die in the fab. It is hoped that most devices released into products will survive until they be... » read more

Power Delivery Affecting Performance At 7nm


Complex interactions and dependencies at 7nm and beyond can create unexpected performance drops in chips that cannot always be caught by signoff tools. This isn't for lack of effort. The amount of time spent trying to determine if an advanced-node chip will work after it is fabricated has been rising steadily for several process nodes. Additional design rules handle everything from variation... » read more

Designers Face Growing Problems With On-Chip Power Distribution


The technology evolution in semiconductor manufacturing has led to chips with ever-higher power densities, which is leading to serious problems with on-chip power distribution. Specifically, the problems surrounding voltage drop—or IR drop (from V=IxR)—have become so acute that we have seen multiple companies starting to get back dead silicon from the fab. For example, a recent 7nm chip ... » read more

Minimizing Chip Aging Effects


Aging kills semiconductors, and it is a growing problem for an increasing number of semiconductor applications—especially as they migrate to more advanced nodes. Additional analysis and prevention methods are becoming necessary for safety critical applications. While some aspects of aging can be mitigated up front, others are tied to the operation of the device. What can an engineering tea... » read more

5nm Design Progress


Activity surrounding the 5nm manufacturing process node is quickly ramping, creating a better picture of the myriad and increasingly complex design issues that must be overcome. Progress at each new node after 28nm has required an increasingly tight partnership between the foundries, which are developing new processes and rule decks, along with EDA and IP vendors, which are adding tools, met... » read more

In-Design Power Rail Analysis


Tech Talk: Kenneth Chang, senior staff product marketing manager at Synopsys, talks about what can go wrong with power at advanced nodes and why in-design power rail analysis works best early in the flow in helping to reduce overall margin. https://youtu.be/0oiWQPS1-Xk » read more

Supply Monitoring On 28nm & FinFET: The Challenges Posed


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What are the issues with supplies on advanced nodes? The supplies have been coming down, quicker than the threshold voltages which has led to less supply margin. In addition to this, the interconnects are becoming thinner and closer together, which is pushing up resistance and also capacitance. What is the effect of these issues? In short, it... » read more

New Power Concerns At 10/7nm


As chip sizes and complexity continues to grow exponentially at 7nm and below, managing power is becoming much more difficult. There are a number of factors that come into play at advanced nodes, including more and different types of processors, more chip-package decisions, and more susceptibility to noise of all sorts due to thinner insulation layers and wires. The result is that engineers ... » read more

Addressing Power Integrity Challenges For SoCs


Power integrity has become a crucial part of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) design flow because power-related issues can affect chip timing and even lead to complete device failure. Specifically, excessive rail voltage drop (IR-drop) and ground bounce can create timing problems and electromigration effects that impact a chip's performance and reliability. Analyzing a chip's power also poses diff... » read more

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