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Go with the flow

Structured asics get a physical boost. By Doug Amos.

Deployment of structured asics – the modern day alternative to full custom or cell based design, where some of the core functionality and most of the support structure (such as power grids, test logic and clock networks) is pre fabricated – has been slow to ramp up. By 2004, however, UK companies were leading the way in adopting this new technology. Structured/platform asics are now being used in a variety of mid to high volume products, with many new designs underway. Estimates from industry analysts, Gartner, are that over one third of all asic designs will be structured/platform based by 2007.
The vendor's bundling of asic technologies into easier to use ‘master slices’ isn't enough to allow the predicted wide spread usage of structured asics. The design flow has to be similarly constrained so that every design has the best chance of being ‘right first time’. Before substantiating this argument, let us consider a traditional cell based asic design flow.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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