The Structured ASIC with X-cell was developed because of the rising cost of Standard Cell NRE. The majority of the NRE came from the photomask cost. For example, as many as 35 layers, costing up to $600,000 (depending on design, foundry and photomask vendor) for 65nm, is required for a complete Standard Cell design. GigOptix Structured ASIC eliminates the need for base layers as well as a majority of the metal layers photomask by leveraging our proprietary metal programmable X-cells. The ability to reduce the number of masks needed, results in an ASIC that has minimal NRE, faster time to market, and cost efficient re-spins compared to the traditional Standard Cell, while retaining the speed, power, and unit cost advantage of the traditional ASIC.
To achieve the minimal photomask required for each design, GigOptix designs reusable master slices. Each of the master slices contains a fixed amount of metal configurable X-cells, metal configurable memory, metal configurable I/O, and special IP such as USB, PHY, PCIE, or high speed SERDES, to accommodate a wide variety of designs. The master slices enables pre-fabrication of the silicon before tapeout which can be metal-configured afterwards to achieve the desired design. The pre-fabrication allows prototypes to be ready in as little as four weeks after tapeout and by being able to reuse the master slice photomasks provides reduction in the NRE. With over forty master slices of various size, gate counts and technology nodes to choose from, GigOptix will provide you the most optimal solution.