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MClayton0
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Analog vs Digital vs SOC optimum design rules
MClayton0   8/4/2013 10:41:19 PM
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Based on  experience at Motorola over many years, I would agree that 78 flows can be managed, but across several fabs, and analog priorities are precision, power, and voltage rather than density since Moores Law only applies to low power and voltage, and often must make some compromises for precision.   CMOS was not around during early days of analog-mostly IC development but gave the standard memory and processor guys a way to "stay on Moores Law" plan. 

However, the real world is analog and so SOC chips have to mix digital and analog, and the sad news is that SOC's will not follow Moores law for that reason (cost wise) but they can appear to be on track for their "smallest critical features."  Marketing, not engineering.  We even tried to put high voltage verticle devices and microcontrollers on same chip, and found that best economic solution was a 2 chip module.   But there is room for MODERATE analog power and voltage mixed with digital memory and logic, DMOS-CMOS.  

So let's hear from the SOC gurus on cost-benefit learning curves.  Just give it another name.  And if time permits, see if you can find any mixed-signal stacks of chips in volume production yet.

 

rick merritt
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Re: 78 different process technologies?
rick merritt   8/1/2013 9:48:35 PM
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@mhrakin: Good historical perspective! I recall how big the Burr-Brown acqusition was in its day. Shook members of our news room as much as the National buy did more recently.

rick merritt
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Re: Next up: Exar
rick merritt   8/1/2013 9:46:58 PM
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@pconti: Thx for the qs and stay tuned for the story hopefully Friday

mhrackin
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CEO
Re: 78 different process technologies?
mhrackin   8/1/2013 2:32:05 PM
To put some perspective on the "78": TI (and the other giants in analog) has (directly or indirectly) absorbed many other analog IC companies, and continues to manufacture/support a lot of those products I am sure. Think about Unitrode, Burr-Brown, Philbrick, etc., each with their own markets and processes optimized for them.   It's undoubtedly just simpler and more economic for TI to keep those fabs up instead of trying to force the designs into a different process!  That's just another way of explaining the "tweaks."

docdivakar
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Manager
Re: TI Gives Tour of Analog Fab Terrain
docdivakar   8/1/2013 1:17:24 PM
@Rick: it is interesting that the statement "Some processes aim to support 600-700 volts, some aim to support a wide array of voltage breakdowns..." steers clear of mentioning anything about non-Silicon semiconductor processes in TI's technology. It would have been nice to know if TI is working on SiC, GaN tecnologies, both in native substrates and in combination with Si substrates.

MP Divakar

pconti
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Re: Next up: Exar
pconti   8/1/2013 12:32:46 PM
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questions:

What process node do they see as the sweet spot for Analog ?

Do/Can they continue to use smal Analog foundries, if not how soon till the majority of their chips are fabbed at the big foundries like TSMC/GF etc ?

 

thanks.

 

rick merritt
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Re: analog
rick merritt   7/31/2013 9:45:50 PM
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@truecop: The Maxim interview inspired me to talk to these TI guys, but I am not sure how useful this particular story is in getting out fresh info.

I am up for talking to Linear and etc about the topic more, but I guess I need some direction for what are valuable areas to explore.

So send me your questions, please. at rick.merritt@ubm.com

 

rick merritt
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Author
Re: 78 different process technologies?
rick merritt   7/31/2013 9:42:02 PM
I forgot to add to the story this comment from Menon:

"We have four major process platforms--high speed, high precision, high power and high density."

The 78 flavors--like Baskin Robbins--I assume are specific optimizations from these four.

Patk0317
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CEO
Re: 78 different process technologies?
Patk0317   7/31/2013 6:15:19 PM
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It does sound like a lot, too many to manage effectively really. But suppose I tell you I have 78 cents, but what I really have is two quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and three pennies. Technically I have 78 cents, but I only have 8 coins to carry around - much more managable than 78 which would likely put a hole in my pocket ;<)

mcgrathdylan
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Re: 78 different process technologies?
mcgrathdylan   7/31/2013 6:04:41 PM
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That's a good point. Obviously each of the 78 are not completely different processes. There would be considerable overlap, I imagine. And of course, as you say, TI is working across a lot of different process geometries requiring different processes. Even so, 78 sounds like a lot.

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