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ASIC Help Needed

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by mpm, Mar 19, 2007.

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  1. mpm

    mpm Guest

    Does anyone here have experience in converting a circuit to ASIC?

    It's a fairly simple design. Nothing esoteric.
    Here are my questions:

    1 - Who does this? We have zero experience here, and will just farm
    it out. (We're located in the US.) A search on ThomasRegister yielded
    96 "hits", but have not done much with that list yet....

    2 - Is there a ballpark guesstimate of what a per-piece ASIC
    equivalent might run us? For example, if our prototype (using Digikey
    onesies-twosies) ran $4.50 US including the board but ignoring labor,
    what's a reasonable ratio?

    3 - Finally what about ASIC development costs?
    I'm presently guessing $250K US to get it converted and then we'll buy
    units from there. (In other words, the non-recurring engineering
    costs) Does that seem a reasonable estimate to anyone??

    What has been your experience with similar projects?

  2. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Yes, 45 years experience. Go to my website....

    for more information, and contact details.

    Answers to you questions (below) can not be answered until your
    schematic and specifications can be reviewed.

    ...Jim Thompson
  3. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    Before I answer _your_ questions, here are some questions that others
    will ask:

    Is it all logic, all analog, or a bit of both?

    What are your volumes? You may find that a PLD or FPGA is cheaper.

    On to some answers:

    1 - Lots of folks. Jim Thompson, on this list, does it. I have an
    acquaintance who does a lot of mixed-signal IC design & could get you in
    touch. There are more beyond what's in the Thomas register.

    2 - Your ASIC cost will depend a lot on what you want your circuit to
    do, and your volumes. If that $4.50 is $4.00 for a precision op-amp and
    $.50 of passives, then your ASIC will cost as much, in quantity, as that
    precision op-amp. If that's $4.50 of 74HC logic, then you can expect it
    to be much cheaper, indeed.

    3 - Dunno, you'll have to ask your IC design guy, or your foundry. I
    would suggest you make sure you know _all_ the costs going in. As a
    newbie you may want to get one point of contact who will guarantee
    getting _everything_ working for you, even if its at a premium. This
    will probably mean going through the foundry, unless there's an IC guy
    out there willing to run that trap line for you.

    My only direct experience with an ASIC process was intensely
    dilbertesque -- upper management fell in love with the idea of an ASIC
    that would implement the core functionality of their products, without
    realizing that said core functionality was changing so rapidly that the
    design couldn't last more than a year or so. Then we all sat around
    conference tables having pissing contests about requirements. There was
    absolutely no one in the whole company who had enough will, balls, and
    authority to get it done.


    Tim Wescott
    Wescott Design Services

    Posting from Google? See

    "Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" came out in April.
    See details at
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