IP and Systems Integration Key to Success
Hsinchu, Taiwan, July 01, 2014 - Global Unichip Corp. (GUC), the Flexible ASIC Leader, recently began manufacturing a consumer electronic applications processor ASIC featuring a DDR2/3 interface that squeezed a leading 2.0GHz megabits per second (Mbps) speed from its 40nm low power (LP) process. Equally astonishing is the fact that it set this milestone on a cost-reducing PCB that could be as few as four layers and a four layer package substrate.
Key to success was designing to the performance sweet spot of GUC's DDR2/3 high speed interface IP, a condensed package substrate, and a PCB through a precise DDR system simulation flow and measurement correlation. The precise co-design flow, that covered IP integration through to packaging/substrate and PCB design, achieved first-pass silicon production qualification in only two months.
ASIC development challenges had roots in both technology and business reality. The consumer electronics marketplace for this particular ASIC is mature so both performance and cost are equally paramount. The cost reduction parameters were set by the mature 40nm process, a cost-reducing PCB and a four layer substrate. Performance would be determined by retaining the speed characteristics of DDR 2/3 interface and optimizing system integration.
While cost-effect, the four layer substrate and cost-reducing PCB limit the performance and production margin of the DRAM read/write rate, so the GUC DDR 2/3 IP performance on the 40nm low-power process was very critical to system performance. The GUC DDR 2/3 high speed interface IP were implemented with a low jitter clock scheme and high performance memory I/O design that pushed the operational speed 10%-15% beyond the published limits.
GUC engineers enhanced the performance through a customized system chip, package, broad simulation flow covering, signal and power integrity analysis and silicon measurement correlation.
"The most interesting thing about this challenge is that required the ingenuity of both IP and systems engineering. The complexity of the business and technology challenges created a complexity that required innovative thinking and execution on a number of levels," commented Jim Lai, President of GUC.
GLOBAL UNICHIP CORP. (GUC) is the Flexible ASIC LeaderTM who provides the semiconductor industry with leading IC implementation and SoC manufacturing services. Based in Hsin-chu Taiwan, GUC has developed a global reputation with a presence in China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and North America. GUC is publicly traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under the symbol 3443. For more information, visit www.guc-asic.com.