For those of us who formerly purchased IP in the form of 40-pin DIPs, the idea of using IP to design SoCs isn’t so foreign. However, for people accustomed to designing everything under the hood of their latest ASIC, the idea has seen surprisingly slow adoption. Semico’s new IP report, “IP Subsystems: The New IP Market Paradigm,” lists 10 reasons for the slow uptake. With author Rich Wawrzyniak’s kind permission, I have decided to list them here.
- The need for 3rd Party SIP was just starting as the SoC market was beginning to take its first small steps
- Most silicon designers did not feel comfortable in allowing ‘outsiders’ access to parts of their design
- The level of complexity found on parts in the early 1990’s was very low compared to today and it was possible for ASIC design teams to complete designs within acceptable time frames without the need to use IP from outside the company
- Many companies had their own ‘IP’ they had been using for years that was adequate for their design needs. Several embedded memory types such as MROM, 8T and 6T SRAM, various analog blocks and several proprietary CPU cores are good examples of this
- The quality of many IP blocks was not up to the internal standards most companies employed for their designs
- The expertise needed to utilize 3rd Party SIP was lacking at most companies and it was easier to design their own IP rather than use non-company IP
- The pressure to integrate discrete semiconductor functions into ever smaller footprints, while present, was not overwhelming at the time
- Power issues were not as critical as they are now for SoC designers
- The markets for mobile devices that require high functionality and performance, small footprints, ultra low power consumption and low price points were just starting to gain momentum
- There were many IP vendors at the time, but few who were ‘serious’ and capable of starting, cultivating and maintaining a relationship with large corporate entities
Which leads to one question.
How many of these issues plague your ASIC/SoC design team?