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PMC-Sierra streamlines MIPS package

Posted: 16 Apr 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:low pin count? MIPS? consumer electronics? amkor technology? microprocessor?

Seeking to strengthen its hand in consumer electronics, PMC-Sierra Inc. said it has switched to a low pin-count package for two of its MIPS processor families aimed at printers, STBs and other consumer electronics gear.

Developed by Amkor Technology Inc., the low-profile QFP uses special lead frames with a die-attach paddle at the base of the package that gets soldered to a PCB. In this way, a chip is grounded by routing wires to the base of the package rather than through ground pins at the edge of the package, as they usually are. PMC-Sierra claims the approach reduces costs while improving electrical and thermal characteristics of its microprocessors.

Earlier versions of PMC-Sierra's high-end 7000 series of microprocessors, with Level 2 cache and a 64bit system interface, came with 256 or more pins. Now all processors in the 7000 line will come in 216-pin packages. Likewise, all versions of the company's 5000 series, which do not have L2 cache and use a 32bit system interface, will now use a 128-pin package.

John Monson, VP of PMC-Sierra's microprocessor products division, said customers buying 500,000 units or more will save anywhere from 50 cents to $1 per chip when ordering microprocessors with the ExposePad packages. PMC-Sierra is offering samples today and expects to price the processors from $15 to $75 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

More important, PMC-Sierra expects its customers will spend less time and money developing variations of the same system because each microprocessor family uses a common pinout. "They don't have to change anything, and they can hit multiple market segments," Monson said.

The new packages come as PMC, known for its networking chips, is putting more emphasis on consumer electronics. Since the telecom downturn, printers have become the workhorse application for company's microprocessor products division, accounting for 50 percent of sales.

- Anthony Cataldo

EE Times

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