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ASICs for the Rest of Us

by Dick Selwood

We all know the story: ASIC starts are falling as the costs of the design tools, the mask sets and the manufacturing process are all going through the roof. Don't even think about starting an ASIC design unless your budget is measured in millions of dollars. The development process is going to require a large team of engineers. The only way you can make money with an ASIC is to sell many hundreds of thousands of devices, and that normally implies consumer markets. But ASICs take months to years of development – a development cycle that can be longer than the product life of a consumer product, which is typically measured only in months.

But over the last few weeks, I have been talking to people who will happily talk about ASICs that cost only tens of thousands of dollars to design and begin to manufacture, and have a return on investment measured in months. How come there is such a huge difference?  Read More


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Posted on 08/29/14 at 8:25 AM by carlwh28

It’s an age old question, what to select for your design? ASIC, FPGA, standard parts, ASSP etc. Each will have its merits for a particular design and market requirements, that's why these solutions still exist, there is no one panacea.

What is importan…

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Posted on 08/28/14 at 3:03 PM by SteveCasselman

While Xilinx has abandoned the lowest end of programmable logic Altera has a low cost, low power, DSP capable device with analog data inputs (AMS). I work at Altera so I currently can't tell you all the great features of this device but it has all the stu…

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Posted on 08/27/14 at 1:44 PM by dougwithau

Can you still do the "sea of gates" ASIC. The foundry would build an ASIC with lots of gates and leave the top metal layers off for later. The task was putting together the top layer (or 2) of metal interconnect.
It cost $80-100K in NRE 10 years ago. Mu…

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Posted on 08/27/14 at 11:29 AM by Dick Selwood

Dick Selwood
What do you think about getting an ASIC without the millions of dollars price tag?

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