5.8 APPLICATION-SPECIFIC INTEGRATED CIRCUITS (ASICS)
This section presents an evolutionary approach to forecast the life cycle stage and the years to obsolescence of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). We then show how attributes such as package style and voltage can modify the forecasts. In addition, the trends in the ASIC industry, by ASIC category, are discussed and a road map is presented.
The term application-specific integrated circuit is a misnomer of sorts. An ASIC is actually customer-specific, rather than application-specific. For example, a gate array or standard cell IC is usually made for a customer. Programmable logic devices (PLDs) are considered to be ASICs because customers program them according to their needs (John and Smith, 1997).
ASIC design methodologies use integrated circuits containing arrays of prefabricated gates (gate arrays) or integrated circuits based on libraries of standard function cells (standard cell designs). These designs generally sacrifice density but allow the ASIC customers to perform significant in-house design, with help from manufacturers. Full custom IC designs address maximum density and performance for high-volume standard products.
Since the 1980s, the semiconductor industry has undergone substantial product changes. Memory parts, microprocessors, and other traditional high-volume standard products are referred to as commodity products. Current standard product portfolios include application-specific standard products ...