90nm ISSP2 Devices Extend Performance Capabilities While Maintaining Time-to-Market Advantages; Company Also Unveils ISSP Open Alliance Program
KAWASAKI, Japan, SANTA CLARA, Calif. and DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 9, 2003 -- NEC Electronics Corporation and its subsidiaries in the United States and Europe, NEC Electronics America, Inc. and NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH, today introduced the next generation of its Instant Silicon Solution Platform™ (ISSP™). The new ISSP2 series of structured ASICs, based on the company's 90-nanometer (UX6) technology, offers up to 4 million usable ASIC gates, 10 megabits (Mb) of embedded configurable memory, and performance up to 500 megahertz (MHz). The ISSP2 devices far exceed the performance and integration of today's most advanced FPGAs, while still delivering the fast turnaround time (TAT) and low non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs associated with NEC Electronics' initial ISSP offering. In addition, NEC Electronics today unveiled its ISSP Open Alliance Program. Under the program, NEC Electronics will establish ISSP-Certified Design Houses, ISSP-Certified Third-Party IP Cores and EDA Vendor Alliances.
"Our ISSP2 offering combines the performance and IP integration benefits of 90-nanometer cell-based ASICs with a robust, easy-to-use design flow that reduces our customers' design effort and significantly reduces layout turnaround times," said Dr. Hitoshi Yoshizawa, general manager, 3rd Custom LSI Division, NEC Electronics Corporation. "With the new ISSP2 devices, we are able to further distance ourselves from high-end FPGAs in terms of performance and integration. Our customers can customize designs very quickly at a very small volume and very competitive cost. And, with the introduction of our ISSP Open Alliance Program, customers will benefit from a broader range of qualified IP and EDA tools and will be able to leverage the ISSP design capabilities and overall system-level design expertise of our certified design houses."
Handel Jones, president and CEO of International Business Strategies, Inc., a market research firm in Los Gatos, California, said, "By offering a broader range of available IP through its ISSP Open Alliance Program, NEC Electronics will enable its ISSP customers to design very robust solutions while still enjoying the fast turnaround times of platform-based designs. The ability to readily use and re-use existing IP, as well as leverage the IP of third-party vendors, provides system designers with a tremendous advantage when trying to bring a new system to market in a short period of time at a low cost."
"At 90nm, the mask cost for a typical cell-based design can exceed $1 million dollars. Designs in this process node will also need to overcome significant challenges to achieve timing closure and fix signal integrity issues," said Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for iSuppli Corporation. "In order to take advantage of the performance gains provided by 90nm, many customers will be looking for solutions that minimize their NRE investment while providing an optimum balance of risk, performance and turnaround for their ASIC and ASSP designs."
With the introduction of ISSP2 structured ASIC devices, NEC Electronics builds on its standard ISSP1 products, introduced in March 2002, and its ISSP1-HSI (high-speed interface) family, introduced in March 2003. The ISSP architecture addresses the design implementation and manufacturing cycle time challenges of mid-volume custom ASICs. Embedding design for test (DFT) and clock tree synthesis (CTS) circuitry along with power lines, analog phase-locked loops (APLLs), SRAM and other intellectual property (IP), significantly reduces customers' front-end design efforts. This allows ISSP customers to rapidly customize their designs with a significantly reduced time to handoff. The ISSP1-HSI devices incorporate NEC Electronics' high-performance serializer/deserializer (SerDes) core as the key interface component between the ISSP architecture and various industry-standard high-speed interfaces.
The new ISSP2 devices incorporate a 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) single-port SerDes interface, as well as a next-generation 3-Gbps Serial ATA interface, making the devices ideal for high-end computing and high-bandwidth networking applications.
NEC Electronics' UX6 90nm Process Technology
Based on a 90nm design rule technology node, UX6 is NEC Electronics' most advanced process technology for ASIC and ISSP devices in low-power, high-performance applications such as broadband communications equipment, high-end computing and storage systems, and mobile computing devices. With this advanced technology, NEC Electronics is able to achieve clock speeds up to 500 MHz and 4 million usable gates in its ISSP2 devices.
ISSP Open Alliance Program
NEC Electronics' ISSP Open Alliance Program is part of the company's strategy to establish ISSP as a ubiquitous structured ASIC design platform. The three components of the program, Certified Design Houses, Certified Third-Party IP and EDA Vendor Alliances, make it easy for customers to rapidly develop ISSP-based solutions.
Under this program, NEC Electronics will refer customers to design houses that have been certified to have proven ISSP design capabilities. For example, GDA Technologies, a leading design services company focused on designing systems, boards, SoCs, FPGAs and IP from concept to product, will use NEC Electronics' standard ISSP design flow and libraries. CoreSim, Inc., a product lifecycle management company that uses advanced design analysis techniques to deliver fully backward-compatible FPGA, ASIC and multichip silicon conversions will do likewise. These and other certified design houses will receive training and on-call support as needed, as well as continuous updates for ISSP libraries and design manuals. The design houses will also have access to NEC Electronics' proprietary design tools as necessary, and be able to add IP from their own portfolios or from external sources. An ISSP-Certified Design House will forward a signed-off netlist or GDSII to NEC Electronics for prototyping.
To further enhance ISSP's broad IP portfolio, NEC Electronics is also inviting additional third-party IP vendors to port their IP cores to the ISSP platform. After certification by NEC Electronics, IP cores such as processors and interfaces will be added to NEC Electronics' IP portfolio. NEC Electronics will provide an ISSP shuttle service to rapidly enable vendors to validate their IP cores in silicon. One of the initial IP partners under this program is Modelware, Inc., a long-time IP development partner of NEC Electronics.
EDA Vendor Alliances allow NEC Electronics to deliver a complete solution that leverages the ISSP architecture with key design automation productivity enhancements. NEC Electronics has already partnered with Synplicity, Inc. and Tera Systems, Inc. to offer efficient EDA environments well suited for use with ISSP.
ISSP2 Device Architecture
The ISSP2 device architecture is a five to seven metal-layer design with two easily customizable layers to meet individual design requirements. The bottom layers are predefined with NEC Electronics' IP and DFT blocks, and include circuitry to minimize signal integrity, power routing and clock skew issues. With this support, NEC Electronics dramatically reduces ASIC development costs by eliminating the need for customers to invest in large, specialized design teams and purchase expensive design tools to address deep submicron issues such as timing and signal integrity.
Reference design kits, which include device libraries for the new ISSP2 series, are expected to be available by January 2004. Engineering samples and mass production are expected during Q2 2004. NEC Electronics expects TAT for ISSP engineering samples (ES) to be 10 days from mask order to shipment. Availability is subject to change.
About NEC Electronics
NEC Electronics worldwide specializes in semiconductor products encompassing advanced technology solutions for the high-end computing and broadband networking markets; system solutions for the mobile handsets, PC peripherals, automotive and digital consumer markets; and platform solutions for a wide range of customer applications. NEC Electronics Corporation has 24 subsidiaries worldwide including NEC Electronics America, Inc. (www.necelam.com) and NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH (www.ee.nec.de). In addition to marketing, selling and supporting NEC Electronics products to customers in their respective regions, NEC Electronics America and NEC Electronics Europe also operate local manufacturing facilities in Roseville, California, and Ballivor, Ireland, respectively. The two companies also serve as the sales and marketing channels of NEC AM-LCD and PDP modules in North America and Europe, respectively. Additional information about NEC Electronics worldwide can be found at www.necel.com. NEC Electronics Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l), one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions.
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Instant Silicon Solution Platform, ISSP and NEC Electronics are either trademarks or registered trademarks of NEC Electronics Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other marks are property of their respective holders.