ASICS or application specific integrated circuits are a very useful class of semiconductor product that allows the engineer or manager to precisely specify an application or function and order the device from a design house. Preferably from our company Signal Processing Group Inc.
ASICS come in all flavors of performance, cost and complexity. Simple ASICS may be straightforward as two matched transistors or very small programmable logic circuits or a small oscillator etc. In such cases the cost is minimal to design, develop and fabricate the device. Cost may be in the range of $10k to $20k or less. The device size may be of the order of 50mil X 50mil.
The next step up is the medium complexity device where the size could be around 100mil X 100mil. This device would have somewhere between 10 to 20 functional blocks on it. The cost would be in the range of $30k to $50k Signal Processing Group Inc., provides the FASTCHIP for this type of device where many functional blocks are available for implementation in a fixed pad frame.
The larger analog/RF ASICS would be in the size range of 250mil square to 350mil square. This would be close to a SOC ( system on a chip). With the new technologies an ASIC this size would be a highly dense and functionality rich device.
If the low risk methodology is followed the probabiolity of a first pass success is greatly enhanced. Please see the paper located at: http://www.highfrequencyelectronics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1406:first-pass-success-with-asics&catid=137&Itemid=189
In terms of timelines a small ASIC as described above can be done in about 3 months. Most of this time is taken by the fabrication cycle. A medium complexity ASIC may need around 20 weeks to 24 weeks of time. A higher complexity analog/RF ASIC might need 50 weeks to 18 months. This is of course very dependent on how complex the device is and what performance is needed. If the device needs very high performance it will be fabricated in an advanced process and thereby take longer in fabrication and test. And so on.
In order to estimate costs, timelines and choose a technology some basic parameters are needed. These are: Supply voltages, temperature of operation, frequencies, amount of logic content and analog content, levels of testing, types of packages needed and so on. When initializing an ASIC project it is very efficient to have this basic information to hand.
For a summary of the types of technologies available from us please see the services page. For a summary of the technologies available please see: the technology page. For FAQS please see the faqs page. To see how to get started see the getting started page.