Chip Design Is Getting Squishy


So many variables, uncertainties and new approaches are in play today across the chip industry today that previous rules are looking rather dated. In the past, a handful of large companies or organizations set the rules for the industry and established an industry roadmap. No such roadmap exists today. And while there are efforts underway to create new roadmaps for different industries, inte... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Rising


The chiplet model is gaining momentum as an alternative to developing monolithic ASIC designs, which are becoming more complex and expensive at each node. Several companies and industry groups are rallying around the chiplet model, including AMD, Intel and TSMC. In addition, there is a new U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative. The goal is to speed up time to market and reduce the cost... » read more

Is This The Year Of The Chiplet?


Customizing chips by choosing pre-characterized — and most likely hardened IP — from a menu of options appears to be gaining ground. It's rare to go to a conference these days without hearing chiplets being mentioned. At a time when end markets are splintering and more designs are unique, chiplets are viewed as a way to rapidly build a device using exactly what is required for a particul... » read more

Moore’s Law, Supply Chains And Security


The debate about the future of Moore's Law continues, while other parts of the industry look for alternatives. In between, supply chains are being pulled in multiple directions, with safety and security often in the middle. All across the semiconductor industry, significant changes are underway. Some of these have been in the works for some time. Others are new or accelerating faster than an... » read more

Is There A Crossover Point For Mainstream Anymore?


Until 28nm, it was generally assumed that process nodes would go mainstream one or two generations after they were introduced. So by the time the leading edge chips for smartphones and servers were being developed at 16/14nm and 10/7nm, it was assumed that developing a chip at 28nm would be less expensive, less complex, and that the process rule deck would shrink. That worked for decades. Th... » read more

Planning For Panel-Level Fan-out


Several companies are developing or ramping up panel-level fan-out packaging as a way to reduce the cost of advanced packaging. Wafer-level fan-out is one of several advanced packaging types where a package can incorporate dies, MEMS and passives in an IC package. This approach has been in production for years, and is produced in a round wafer format in 200mm or 300mm wafer sizes. Fan-out... » read more

What’s The Best Advanced Packaging Option?


As traditional chip designs become more unwieldy and expensive at each node, many IC vendors are exploring or pursuing alternative approaches using advanced packaging. The problem is there are too many advanced packaging options on the table already, and the list continues to grow. Moreover, each option has several tradeoffs and challenges, and all of them are still relatively expensive. ... » read more

New Technologies To Support 3D-ICs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss changes required throughout the ecosystem to support three-dimensional (3D) chip design with Norman Chang, chief technologist for the Semiconductor Business Unit of ANSYS; John Park, product management director for IC packaging and cross-platform solutions at Cadence; John Ferguson, director of marketing for DRC applications at Mentor, a Siemens Bus... » read more

Cloudy Outlook Seen For IC Biz


After a slowdown in the first half of 2019, chipmakers and equipment vendors face a cloudy outlook for the second half of this year, with a possible recovery in 2020. Generally, the semiconductor industry began to see a slowdown starting in mid- to late-2018, which extended into the first half of 2019. During the first half of this year, memory and non-memory vendors were negatively impacted... » read more

Sidestepping Moore’s Law


Calvin Cheung, vice president of engineering at ASE, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about advanced packaging, the challenges involved with the technology, and the implications for Moore’s Law. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What are some of the big issues with IC packaging today? Cheung: Moore’s Law is slowing down, but transistor scaling will co... » read more

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