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It’s all ARMs!

Eight arms on a chip? It must be an octopus! By Graham Pitcher.

When you talk with executives in the communications industry about make or buy – the decision whether to design your own chips or use generic devices – the overwhelming sentiment is that the day of designing your own chips is pretty much over.
Asics are expensive, carry a high level of risk and require you, as a company, to maintain a high level of expensive skills. With assps, however, someone else takes on that burden. And it’s a model which works well enough. But every so often, there is an exception that proves the rule.
Mobile communications – particularly 3G – is an area where cost is dominant. “Operators have set aggressive cost reduction targets,” said Steve Dodsworth, senior manager for markets and applications with Agere Systems. “In some cases, they are looking to cut their costs by 30% over two years.” And the way some operators are meeting these aggressive targets is through asics.

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Vanessa Knivett

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