Two methodologies for ASIC conversion
Ron Wilson, EETimes
5/31/2011 2:30 PM EDT
ASIC vendor eASIC's announcement of a conversion path from their Nextreme structured devices to a fully cell-based ASIC offers an interesting opportunity to reflect on conversion methodologies. Comparing it to a recent discussion of the KaiSemi conversion flow, which takes a design from an FPGA to a cell-based ASIC, further illuminates some of the important choices that come up in reworking an existing design. The two approaches are conceptually similar, but practically quite different.
Structurally, the design problems the two companies face are similar. KaiSemi converts a working FPGA design into a cell-based ASIC design. Similarly, eASIC converts a Nexstreme or Nexstreme-2 structured device design - which may or may not have originated in an FPGA - into a cell-based design. Both strive to offer a turnkey service in which the customer has to understand very little of the ASIC process beyond RTL verification and timing.
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