electronics - asics and soc

Standard Integrated Circuits and ASIC chips

The introduction of electronics technology greatly impacted our lives from consumer electronics, portable computers, and mobile devices. It is now part of our everyday personal and business lives due to its convenience and functionality.

Every day we see or use products that utilize electronics technology. And without these, life will never be the same. More so, transportation, wireless communication, medical equipment, mobile phones, and so much more will not exist if not because of IC (Integrated Circuit) or ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).


What’s the difference between the standard Integrated Circuit and ASIC chips?

Integrated Circuit is designed for general use or purpose. It is a small chip that can function as an amplifier, microprocessor, timer, or computer memory.  An Integrated Circuit is made of silicon that can store data using analog or digital technology. Standard Integrated Circuit is ideal for small series.

On the other hand, ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuit is a chip customized for a specific use. A modern ASIC chip contains microprocessors, RAM, ROM, memory blocks, and flash memory.

ASIC is ideally designed for a product that is intended for mass production. ASIC design can also be tailored to meet the specific requirements for a product. ASICs are immensely useful in the production of consumer electronics and products that are widely used.


Price structure of standard Integrated Circuit (IC) and Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

The development cost for an ASIC chip is expensive compared to standard IC. Regular or standard Integrated Circuit price is significantly lower as many users break the Non-Recurring Engineering or NRE (which is the development cost).


The cost structure of standard Integrated Circuit

Phase                                               Content

Die                                                     die size

Packaging                                        type of package

Testing                                              test time

Handling                                          Quality Assurance/Control, logistics, shipment


Comparison between standard Integrated Circuit (IC) vs. Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

  • Time to marketICs are ideal for fast prototyping
  • NRE or Non-Recurring Expensesintroduction cost for standard Integrated Circuit applications is low
  • Unit CostASIC cost is low due to no redundant function
  • Power Consumptionthe optimal power consumption clearly goes to ASIC as it has a dedicated technology and no redundant function
  • Form factorASIC is the winner for this component due to its power consumption and small form factor
  • Productionproduction of standard IC is faster compared to an ASIC chip, however, when the standard component becomes obsolete, it requires a to redesign your product


What are the benefits of Application Specific Integrated Circuit?

  • Lower power consumption
  • Higher integration
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Higher functionality
  • Smaller footprint


Choosing between Standard Integrated Circuit (IC) over the Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

Choosing between the two really depends on your needs. Before you can decide which is essential to your business or product, you need to evaluate the following factors:

  • Unit cost
  • Time to market
  • Power consumption
  • Solution cost
  • Scalability
  • Protection
  • Non-recurring expenses
  • Form factor
  • Control of supply chain

Finding the right solution depends on your specific project requirements. Choosing the right solution can be taken effectively by determining functionality, production time scale, and cost.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

system-on-a-chip faqs

FAQs on System-on-a-chip

What is System-on-a-chip?

SOC is an Integrated Circuit that may contain digital, analog, or mixed-signal functions used in computer or electronic systems. It essentially combines all electronic circuits needed into one single integrated chip.

A SOC usually is composed of utility software applications, operating systems, microprocessors or digital signal processors, RAM or ROM, power-on reset generators, and counter timers. These days, SOCs are found inside mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.


Why use SOC?

The use of SOC is mainly to reduce the use of space occupied by large systems. With SOC, size is downsized, spending cost is lowered, and energy waste reduced too.


What are the Uses of a System-on-a chip?

SOC has become an integral part of today’s modern era specifically in the world of electronics and technology. Today, SOCs are mainly used in portable equipment such as cameras, smartphones, tablets, wireless technologies, personal computers, laptops, netbooks, and many more.


What are the Components of System-on-a-chip?

The components of a system-on-a-chip depend on its use or purpose. Since SOCs are commonly used in portable devices such as tablet and phones, these are the regular components used of such portable devices:

  • CPU – the heart of what’s inside the SOC. CPU or Central Processing Unit is responsible for most responses and decisions by receiving input from other SOC components. Most CPUs have more multiple cores inside, about 2-8 cores to be able to perform parallel processing.
  • GPU – or Graphical Processing Unit or also known as video chip is responsible for 3D games in your portable or mobile device.
  • Image Processing Unit – responsible for converting phone camera data into image and video files.
  • Digital Signal Processor – handles more complex and intensive functions than the CPU like decompressing music files.
  • Neutral Processing Unit – this component is used in high-end smartphones which functions include voice recognition and camera processing.
  • RAM – Random Access Memory is used to store data. Basically, RAM is the computer’s short term memory that serves as the computer’s working space. A SOC must have RAM to be able to use apps and use software data.
  • ROM – Read Only Memory is a computer memory that can store permanent and semi-permanent data. ROM is essential to boot firmware.
  • Video Encoder/Decoder – handles the conversion of video files.
  • Modem – responsible for cellular or network connectivity. Smartphones will not work without a modem that works by connecting to radio networks.


What are the Benefits of SOC?

  • Space-saving
  • Cost and time effective
  • Powerful


Which are the Leading System-on-a chip Manufacturers?

There are multiple numbers of SOC manufacturers today to address the growing needs to power portable devices. Samsung, Huawei, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and NVIDIA are the largest manufacturers of SOCs worldwide.

Aside from making high-end phones, Samsung and Huawei also produce their own SOCs. On the other hand, Broadcom mainly manufactures SOCs for wireless and networking devices.

There is no doubt that system-on-a-chip is an important part of today’s wireless technology and will remain to be of greater importance in the coming years. It may be small but has changed the way we communicate through wireless technology.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

analog ic design

General Design Steps for Analog IC Design

Integrated Circuit is the little black chip embedded in an electronic device. This flat black chip or commonly known as a silicon chip, or analog IC, is made of electronic components such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, and others to work together to perform a specific function.

Integrated Circuits (ICs) are vital components in telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, Internet, multi-media, and other applications in today’s modern world. Integrated Circuit designs are divided into 2 categories: analog and digital.

Digital Integrated Circuit (IC) is specifically designed to produce components like RAM and microprocessors; it is mainly for logical functions. On the other hand, Analog IC focuses on the physics of semiconductor devices.

The analog design is mainly to continuously manipulate varying electrical signals through the use of amplifiers and filters.


Analog IC Design

Analog ASIC design starts with product specification, circuit design and architecture, logic design, physical design, physical verification

  • Specification – Analog IC specification phase involves market surveys; determining potential customers, and predict future needs. Gauging future demands will also influence how you would like to do with your ASIC, and working on the requirements for the product to appeal better to customers.
  • Design and Architecture – this stage involves discussion on the pros and cons of the design including performance and functional implications, time, and cost allocation. The design and architecture phase involves technical and functional details.
  • Logic design – the logical and verification phase involves the coding of the data flow of the individual functional block using Verilog, system Verilog, or VHDL. The logic design includes combination logic, sequential Elements, finite State Machines (FSMs), arithmetic Logic Blocks, data-path Design, and Analog Design.
  • Physical design – this stage focuses on the backend design cycle. The phase is sub-divided into synthesis, floor planning, placement, clock tree synthesis, detail routing, physical verification.
  • Synthesis translates the RTL code into standard cell gates.
  • Floorplanning is when engineers follow the analog ASIC design by dividing the area into partitions. Functional blocks, pins, and ports are also integrated into the floor planning phase. The process also determines the size of the chip, wire length, and functionality. Good floor planning is essential to eliminate or at least minimize issues in the signal, routing, and total chip area.
  • Placement involves the optimal placement of all standard cells in the chip.
  • The clock three synthesis processes are meeting the time, power, and area requirements. This step is used to ensure that optimal clock latency is achieved while lowering power consumption.
  • Detail routing is the stage involves multiple types of researches to ensure detours are minimized that can cause implications on timing. This process also ensures that Design Rule Check violations are at a minimum.
  • Physical verification is all about making sure that the layout is parallel to the way it is designed to. This is also to avoid any errors before the tape out.

Analog ASIC design is complicated; and will continue to progress along with technology. Analog IC design is an integral part of today’s modern life. Life has never been the same since the invention of Integrated Circuits.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

ASIC chip

Forecast of the ASIC Chip Market

The importance of the ASIC chip is evident in our daily lives. From the kitchen appliances to transportation, mobile devices, hospital, and medical equipment, ASIC chips are the main components.

Over the years, ASIC chips play an immense role in life. The market demands of consumer electronics and mobile devices are growing and that ASIC chips’ growth is undeniable.

ASIC is small in size but it performs a number of functions in just one tiny black chip. As the years progress, numerous ASIC chips are developed to cater to varying industry needs including the automobile industry.

Today, premium automobile manufacturers, medical and industrial workplaces are using sensor ASIC chips. ASIC and sensor ASIC chips will be highly in demand in the global market due to the surge in adoption in developing countries.

According to Allied Market Research, the ASIC chip market is projected to reach $28.05 billion in 2026. However, the lack of workforce and extra time needed in the production may affect market growth.

The global ASIC market is segmented by region, application, and type. Based on the region, the market is fragmented in Asia & The Pacific, Europe, North America, and LAMEA (Latin America, Middle East, and Africa).

By type, it is classified into Full Custom, Semi-Based Custom, and Programmable Logic Devices. Based on the application, the ASIC market is divided into consumer electronics, telecommunication products, wireless communication, medical instrumentation, aerospace subsystem and sensor, data processing systems.

The high demands of consumer electronics, hybrid cars, and health care monitoring systems will significantly drive the sales and production of ASIC and sensor ASIC chips.

It will be a trend in developed countries like the United States of America. Also, the numerous benefits ASIC chips are other growth factors that lead to increased demands in developing countries in the healthcare, transportation, media, retail, and automotive industries.


Top companies in the market

  • Intel Corporation
  • Maxim Integrated Products
  • Analog Devices
  • ON Semiconductor Corporation
  • Qualcomm
  • Texas Instruments
  • Advanced Micro Devices
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited
  • Bitmain Technologies Holding Company
  • Infineon Technologies AG
  • Xilinx, Inc.
  • Nvidia Corporation


ASIC and sensor ASIC market by country or region

  • US
  • Canada
  • North America
  • UK
  • Germany
  • France
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Rest of Europe
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Rest of Asia & Pacific
  • Brazil
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Argentina
  • The rest of LAMEA


ASIC market by application

  • Consumer electronics
  • Data Processing Systems
  • Health and Medical Instrumentation
  • Aerospace and others

It is projected that Asia and the Pacific region will experience the highest CAGR of 8.9% during (2019-2015) and an expected rise of 8.2% of CAGR for Global ASIC Chip market between 2015 – 2019.

The development of Application Specific Integrated Circuits provides numerous benefits including speed and efficiency. ASIC and sensor ASIC chips are also empowering different industries, private and public sectors towards digital transformation.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

VLSI and ASIC chips

What is VLSI and its relation to ASIC chips

What are VLSI and its uses?


Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) is the process of creating an Integrated Circuit (IC) by incorporating tens of thousands of transistors into one single chip. VLSI reduces the need for more circuits in one system, especially for complex devices. The integration of technology helped reduce the size of electronic devices without affecting efficiency.


VLSI technology was developed in the 1970s when cutting edge computer processor microchips were under improvement. Today, it is a widely utilized technology for microchip processors and incorporated circuits (IC). Very

Large Scale Integration was initially designed to support a huge number of transistor entryways on a microchip. These transistors are integrated and implanted inside a microchip, which significantly reduced its size yet still can hold big numbers of transistors.


Back in the days of the vacuum tube method, electronic devices were bulky and require more power. And due to the wastage of heat and power, efficiency is decreased. The advancement of technology and electronic devices brought forth the invention of VLSI. The method helped accommodate the growing requirements of complex designs; to fabricate all components onto a single chip.


VLSI design flow

There are 3 major stages in the VLSI design process; behavioral, logic circuit, and layout representations.

  • Behavioral representation is the first step. The process involves identifying the functionality of the device and how it is going to communicate with the exterior. A Hardware Description Language (HDL) is used to establish the behavior of the device.
  • Logic circuit representation works by using functional blocks from cell libraries to integrate the behavioral representation of the VLSI design into a logic circuit representation. Once verified, the gate-level netlist is generated to develop the design layout.
  • Layout representation is the final stage which determines the placing and routing of the chips. Once arranged at their best locations, building blocks are then interconnected.


Uses in today’s advance word:

  • Computers
  • Commercial electronics
  • Medicine
  • Automobiles
  • Digital signal processing


What is ASIC?


Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is designed for one specific application only. It is a microchip designed to one special application like a pocket-sized computer. It is widely used in the design and manufacturing of electronic devices. Some examples of popular ASIC chip include a chip with microprocessor for cellular phones to work, a chip for a satellite, a chip for a talking toy bear, and a chip used for the voice recorder.


ASICs can be custom manufactured for specific client applications or pre-manufactured for a special product or application.


Types of ASIC chip designs

  • Full custom design
  • Semi-custom design
  • Programmable ASIC


Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) and Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)


So, VLSI involves the development of ASIC. For specific applications, special chips are designed which is also called Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). These specialized chips changed the way electronic devices are designed and manufactured.


This method is expensive, but several industries are using this technology because this can be reconfigured if needed. Using ASIC, you can map any design, develop a design that can be modified multiple times.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

voltage regulator

What is a Voltage Regulator and How Does it Work

A voltage regulator is a device that maintains the voltage of a power source within prescribed limits. This useful device keeps the output voltage at the same level even when loading conditions or input voltage changes. The voltage regulator comes in two types: linear and switching.


Linear Voltage and Switching Regulator Explained

A linear regulator uses an active pass device called bipolar junction transistor (BJT) or MOSFET) run by a high-gain differential amplifier. It basically differentiates the output voltage with a specific voltage then adjusts the pass device to keep the output voltage within the standard range.

On the other hand, a switching regulator works by converting the dc input voltage into different voltage using a switch. The dc output is then fed back to the circuit controller to regulate the transfer and keep the output voltage constant.


Switching Regulator Topologies

Topology is the study of geometric properties and spatial relations in Mathematics. Basically, topology is the way in which elements are arranged.

There are 3 main switching regulator topologies: buck (step-down), boost (step-up), and buck-boost which are a combination of both. The rest of the topologies are flyback, SEPIC, Cuk, push-pull, forward, full-bridge, and half-bridge.


In what way switching frequency impacts regulator designs

Switching frequency can affect the efficiency and performance of regulator designs. Higher switching frequency means greater noise, but this can be addressed by adding a low-pass filter.

However, adjusting the frequency depends on each system’s requirements. Also, higher switching frequency means reduced board space; the voltage regulator can use smaller capacitors and inductors.


What are Switching Losses?

Switching losses happen when the power switch changes from the ON state and OFF state and vice versa. Also, power or switching losses occur because there are more transitions per second when changing to higher frequencies. To sum it up, losses are associated with the activity of the power switch.


Linear Regulators vs. Switching Regulators

Linear regulator is the simplest technique to regulate the output voltage from the power source. It only requires a minimum amount of dropout voltage to work. Linear regulators are only suitable for low powered devices. It may be less complicated and cheap, but it is less efficient.

Switching regulators, on the other hand, are highly efficient and reliable. However, switching regulators emit loud squeal noise. Basically, switching regulators can drive higher current loads compared to linear regulators.


Switching Regulator Output Method Explained

The output voltage is controlled at a fixed limit by using three control methods: voltage mode control, current-mode control, and hysteresis (ripple) control.

What are the design specifications for voltage regulator IC?

Depending on the application, design specifications vary. But the primary specifications are input voltage, output voltage, and output current.

Other parameters that are important include output noise, load transient response, output ripple voltage, and efficiency. And for linear regulators, the important specifications are dropout voltage, output noise, and power supply rejection ratio or PSRR.


Additional Features for Voltage Regulator IC

Some regulators feature output voltage tracking which output voltage from one power source tracks the output of another power supply.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

SoCs - System-on-a-Chip

A Brief History of The System-On-A-Chip

Have you ever wondered where the idea of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) came from? Gadgets nowadays are getting more advanced and most of them are based on SoCs. Basically, these components can be a bit hard to define.



Where SoCs Are Commonly Used


You will usually find SoCs in your smartphone, smart TV, tablet, and voice assistant. This includes your computer where you can see it in the hard drive, graphics cards, and network cards. The main processor chip, in many cases, an SoC with a number of CPU cores, particularly with ultra-mobile laptops. You will also find an integrated graphics processing unit in such components.


Other cheap single board computers are also available, including the Beagle Bone and the Raspberry Pi, most are based around a system-on-a-chip. You can only see them in devices that need SoCs.



Its Brief History


You may not have much information regarding the history of SoCs because most of the early developments were done in the development and research laboratories of private companies. Thus, the information has not become public because of intellectual property laws.


Companies developing the technology at that time called system-on-a-chip were at the cutting edge of the telecommunications industry. Moreover, these companies have been developing silicon for other companies and not for sale to design engineers.


Thus, the chips they have produced were using obscure codenames and part numbers not listed in catalogs that should be readily available for the public.



The SoCs in the 1970s


A system-on-a-chip technology was intended to provide miniaturization. It dates back to the early 1970s in the new era of the digital watch when the first LED wristwatch was announced. It took 44 logic ICs to be reduced into one chip. Some of the LED driving circuitry in that wristwatch was actually too large so that was not actually a complete system.



Development of the First SoCs in the 1980s to the 1990s


It was in the 1980s when the revolution of personal computing took off that caused the major developments in system-on-a-chip technology. In 1991, this technology continued to flourish with the release of the AMD286ZX/LX family of SoCs.


Then, the boom in the cellular phone industry has made it possible for the development of SoCs in the 1990s. At the same time, many smaller chips begin to do different peripheral functions, including audio, battery charging, keyboard, and LCD displays, among others.


In the late 1990s, ARM Holdings began to license its fabless processor designs to other manufacturers. The future of ARM and the mobile telecoms market is greatly accredited to the evolution of its reduced-instruction-set (RISC) CPU.


It was very powerful and consumes less power than its competitors. It has become ideal for the use of embedded systems as can be seen in the disk drive SoC.


  • The early 2000s featured cheaper and smaller mobile phones
  • In 2001, it was the release of the iPod that was based on the twin-core ARM SoC
  • The mid-2000s was the expansion of the market in Asia
  • The first iPhone was launched in 2007 that featured an SoC containing an ARM core and GPU


Today, the mobile phone industry has been pushing the limits of the system-on-a-chip. In fact, the SoCs gained several ARM cores, GPU cores, and RAM, as well as multimedia processing features.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

integrated circuit

How Do Integrated Circuits Work

The invention of the integrated circuit (IC) was in 1958, compressing more power into lesser space. A very effective alternative to the buzzing vacuum tubes thousands of times less powerful than the modern laptop and 100 times smaller than the ENIAC in the 1940s.



What Is An Integrated Circuit?


Integrated circuits are a combination of diodes, microprocessors, and transistors in a minimized form on a wafer made of silicon. Each of these components has a specific function. These can perform calculations and multiple tasks when combined with each other.


  • Diodes – These are electronic devices working to control the flow of current in the circuit. Diodes also control the direction of the current in which they only allow the current to flow in certain paths.
  • Transistors – These components are used to store voltages or circuit stabilizer. They can be utilized to amplify the given signal and used as switches working in digital circuits. They can allow a certain amount of voltage into the circuit with the use of a gate to open at a particular voltage.
  • Microprocessors – These components are the most important part of the integrated circuit. This is intended to provide memory to the system. Likewise, it gives memory to perform calculations and follow a certain protocol or logic. This tells the microprocessor to process the data and electricity within the system. So it becomes the operating system of an integrated circuit, allowing the components to interact with one another.


Integrated circuits are found in almost every electrical appliance nowadays, from television to wristwatch and from PCs to juice makers. The applications are limitless for ICs in which anything can be designed and built with discrete electronic components and put into an integrated circuit.


Some examples of ICs are audio amplifiers, logic devices, memory devices, radiofrequency decoders and encoders, and video processors. But computing is among the major applications for ICs. So instead of thousands of transistors in computers in olden times, today’s PCs have only a handful of ICs.



Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)


One of the uses of ICs is called the ASIC chip, which is made to serve a particular purpose, instead of a general-purpose chip. One of the applications of an ASIC is the one that runs in a digital voice recorder.



Structured ASIC Design


ASIC chips are fabricated using metal oxide semiconductor technology or as MOS integrated circuit chips. A new trend in the semiconductor industry is the structured ASIC chip design or the platform ASIC design.



Full-Custom ASIC


Another ASIC design used in the industry is the full-custom ASIC chip design that defines all the photolithographic layers of the device. These are used for both ASIC design and standard product design.


The benefits of a full-custom design include reduction of area, improvement of performance, and integration of analog components. However, this will cause increased manufacturing and design time, more complexity in the computer-aided design, and higher skill requirement for the design team.



Gate Array and Semi-Custom Design


Another manufacturing method where diffused layers are predefined and electronic wafers are held in stock before the metallization stage in the fabrication process. The diffused layers consist of transistors and other active devices.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

analog design - analog asic

Myths To Dispel About Custom Analog ASIC Design

Designing electronic products such as analog ASIC or custom silicon can be designed according to customer specifications. But there are myths to dispel in accordance with analog design or digital ASIC design. Here are several myths that can be busted with some of the recent changes in the semiconductor industry.



ASICs Are Expensive To Produce


To maximize the utilization of foundries and return on investment, steps are now taken by manufacturers to attract customers. Thus, lowering the cost of engineering.


Moreover, the increase in the availability of capacity on the basis of mature process nodes is keeping such costs low. This means that it is more cost-efficient to create custom silicon.



Making Custom Chips Requires Very High Volumes


This is not true because switching to a custom analog design for ASICs can remove the redundancy and will consolidate its functionality. Thus, it generates a significant bill of material savings to easily reach well over 50%. In this case, ASICs can make good business and engineering sense even at low or medium volumes.



It Is Expensive To Design Custom Silicon


There are experienced design houses with existing silicon-proven IP libraries. Therefore, it can leverage and keep costs low. So design houses can deliver a turnkey experience that often is more affordable than expected.



It Is Time-Consuming To Create Custom Silicon


Good design houses can now leverage existing silicon-proven IP libraries. In this sense, it can greatly reduce design time. Therefore, it will have a better design process flow to speed up time-to-market.



It Requires Hard Work To Engage In Analog/Mixed-Signal


Those who develop the mixed-signal or analog design for ASICs are adept at identifying and addressing the implications of layout between analog and digital circuitry. So it requires system-level understanding and experience to determine which design practices would work best.



You Are At Risk To Go Out Of Business When Working With A Custom Supplier


It is not true that you get into supply problems when you are working with major foundries or established design houses. In fact, the risk of supply only happens when using off-the-shelf components from different suppliers.



It Is Prohibitively Expensive To License IP


This is the exact opposite because costs in licensing IP can be minimized. This is made possible because design houses can leverage their own libraries of IP developed in-house, as well as greater buying power. This makes it available to customers at very competitive prices.



Design Houses Only Help With Hardware


Actually, design houses also work with customers to support software development for the complete system, aside from just developing hardware.



Your Design Partner Dictates What Customers Must Use To Implement


Customers are not restricted to a particular manufacturing partner because they can choose who to work with. This is due to the fact that design houses often want to select the best partners.



 Custom Silicon Only Benefits Very Specific Niche Requirements


There are lots of benefits with custom silicon, including improved efficiencies to space savings, IP security, and BOM cost reductions.



 Customers Are kept In The Dark Because Design Happens In A Black Box


Good design houses will work at every step of the way side-by-side with the customer in order to achieve the desired system. The entire process is actually open and transparent, rather than a black-box approach.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

single board computers and system-on-a-chip

System-On-A-Chip And Single Board Computer: Advantages And Disadvantages

A system-on-a-chip incorporates plenty of system components into a single silicon chip. On the other hand, single board computers are an entire computer built on a single circuit board. It also has a memory, microprocessor, and input-output features needed for a functional computer.


Generally, it comprises of a range of peripherals, memory, and an application processor. This is a small chip with all the required circuits and electronic components in a given system, such as a smartphone or PC, on a single integrated circuit.


Advantages Of System-on-a-Chip (SoC)


SoC is basically small and it has some useful features and functions. This makes it more advantageous to consider.


The design of the SoC is built for flexibility, which is quite tough to beat. Its suppleness can be derived from its chip size, form factor, and power.


Video codes from application-specific SoCs can be cost-efficient. This is particularly true with software in terms of effort and time.

High Volume

For high capacity products, SoCs are countless, since it makes it so easy to defend the resources and engineering cost.


Disadvantages Of SoC 


  1. Time-Consuming
  2. Resource Limitations
  3. Lower Volume



Advantages Of Single Board Computer (SBC)


Easy To Use

When it comes to single-board computers, you can rest assured that they are easy to use.

Verified Hardware

When designing SoC, it is quite expensive to consider pursuing it. In the case of SBC though, you are guaranteed that such a risk can be avoided.


The ability to apply modifications to your board only means that you are just giving for what you need.

Single Source

The bill of materials for a simple SoC can still be worth hundreds of dollars. However, considering SBC deems it informal for logistics.

Time To Market

The design of single board computers is essentially faster compared with that of the SoC.



Disadvantages Of SBC



When it comes to products of high capacity category, it makes it more logical to do your individual design and validate engineering costs.


Doing a system-on-a-chip is more valuable to deliberate as opposed to a system board computer, particularly when you want a lot of customizations.


It will be very worthwhile to spend some time and determination for developing a deep understanding of the invention, when you are planning to use the same SoC for several products, as opposed to SBC.



Differences Between SoC And SBC


System-on-a-chip and Single Board Computers are quite different from each other because the former can be a significant component of the latter. Basically, SoC comprises of different functional units on a single silicon chip. On the other hand, SBC is a complete personal computer on a single printed circuit board, CPU, RAM, and non-volatile memory.


Furthermore, SoC is widely used across the embedded industry because of the features, such as the computational quality, low power consumption, and small form factor. SBCs are standard products that can be utilized to advance the results for different industries.


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.