Cheap Chips

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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ProbMe Simplifies Thing WiFi Connection

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forum

Be a Better Programmer

Posted on 09/17/14 at 12:56 AM by juergenuk

juergenuk
Programmers put the bugs in. So they should get help where possible with tools and training to minimize. One way is to have a very rigid structure across the whole group.
On LinkedIN there was an interesting discussion, and some said: I want my programmi…

There’s a Processor in My FPGA!

Posted on 09/16/14 at 2:35 PM by SteveCasselman

Altera's OpenCL SDK allows software programmers to use the FPGA's fabric as easily as they use the processor cores. The same code that runs on an SoC also runs on the largest parts. Altera is also committed to having an SoC in each family so the Stratix 1…

Go-Fast FPGA Design

Posted on 09/16/14 at 1:23 PM by gabor@alacron.com

gabor@alacron.com
I'd add "Make room for heatsinks." Especially if you're packing the whole FPGA with logic and cranking up the clock, you will need help taking the heat from the chip. I've never regretted allowing extra room for a big heatsink, including board-level mou…

Go-Fast FPGA Design

Posted on 09/16/14 at 9:43 AM by kevin

kevin
A few synthesis-specific things I neglected to mention in the article:
- Multiple synthesis tools: If you have access to more than one synthesis tool, use all of them. Even the lousy one that seems like it never works will win on some designs. The only w…

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