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Structured ASICs!a risk management tool

Posted: 27 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:structured ASIC? tool risk management? silicon? application note?

Exorbitant and growing ASIC mask costs require customers to engage in extensive and expensive verification. Designers can expect a full 90nm mask set to cost $1M, but this is only a small portion of the estimated ~$25M development cost of an ASIC. About half of the overall ~$25M is devoted to verification tools and engineering intended to increase the likelihood that silicon "works right, first time" and to avoid spending an indeterminate amount of time on analysis and money on masks. Unfortunately a majority of ASIC designs today require respins.

This $1M mask costs will be incurred whether the customer requires only 10 devices for prototyping/experimentation or 1 million devices for mass production. Therefore, customers can not embark on an ASIC project unless they are willing to invest the time and money to ensure the masks will be used to produce 100K's of devices. Frankly, there are few opportunities today that, with absolute certainty, will require 500,000 units to provide a justifiable return on investment.

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