NEC Launches New ASIC Process

NEC Electronics introduces the next generation of its Instant Silicon Solution Platform, the ISSP2 series of structured ASIC devices

June 10, 2003

3 Min Read

KAWASAKI, Japan, SANTA CLARA, Calif. and DUESSELDORF, Germany -- NEC Electronics Corporation and its subsidiaries in the United States and Europe, NEC Electronics America, Inc. and NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH, today introduced the next generation of its Instant Silicon Solution PlatformTM (ISSPTM). The new ISSP2 series of structured ASICs, based on the company's 90-nanometer (UX6) technology, offers up to 4 million usable ASIC gates, 10 megabits (Mb) of embedded configurable memory, and performance up to 500 megahertz (MHz). The ISSP2 devices far exceed the performance and integration of today's most advanced FPGAs, while still delivering the fast turnaround time (TAT) and low non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs associated with NEC Electronics' initial ISSP offering. In addition, NEC Electronics today unveiled its ISSP Open Alliance Program. Under the program, NEC Electronics will establish ISSP-Certified Design Houses, ISSP-Certified Third-Party IP Cores and EDA Vendor Alliances.

"Our ISSP2 offering combines the performance and IP integration benefits of 90-nanometer cell-based ASICs with a robust, easy-to-use design flow that reduces our customers' design effort and significantly reduces layout turnaround times," said Dr. Hitoshi Yoshizawa, general manager, 3rd Custom LSI Division, NEC Electronics Corporation. "With the new ISSP2 devices, we are able to further distance ourselves from high-end FPGAs in terms of performance and integration. Our customers can customize designs very quickly at a very small volume and very competitive cost. And, with the introduction of our ISSP Open Alliance Program, customers will benefit from a broader range of qualified IP and EDA tools and will be able to leverage the ISSP design capabilities and overall system-level design expertise of our certified design houses."

Handel Jones, president and CEO of International Business Strategies, Inc., a market research firm in Los Gatos, California, said, "By offering a broader range of available IP through its ISSP Open Alliance Program, NEC Electronics will enable its ISSP customers to design very robust solutions while still enjoying the fast turnaround times of platform-based designs. The ability to readily use and re-use existing IP, as well as leverage the IP of third-party vendors, provides system designers with a tremendous advantage when trying to bring a new system to market in a short period of time at a low cost."

"At 90nm, the mask cost for a typical cell-based design can exceed $1 million dollars. Designs in this process node will also need to overcome significant challenges to achieve timing closure and fix signal integrity issues," said Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for iSuppli Corporation. "In order to take advantage of the performance gains provided by 90nm, many customers will be looking for solutions that minimize their NRE investment while providing an optimum balance of risk, performance and turnaround for their ASIC and ASSP designs."

With the introduction of ISSP2 structured ASIC devices, NEC Electronics builds on its standard ISSP1 products, introduced in March 2002, and its ISSP1-HSI (high-speed interface) family, introduced in March 2003. The ISSP architecture addresses the design implementation and manufacturing cycle time challenges of mid-volume custom ASICs. Embedding design for test (DFT) and clock tree synthesis (CTS) circuitry along with power lines, analog phase-locked loops (APLLs), SRAM and other intellectual property (IP), significantly reduces customers' front-end design efforts. This allows ISSP customers to rapidly customize their designs with a significantly reduced time to handoff. The ISSP1-HSI devices incorporate NEC Electronics' high-performance serializer/deserializer (SerDes) core as the key interface component between the ISSP architecture and various industry-standard high-speed interfaces.

The new ISSP2 devices incorporate a 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) single-port SerDes interface, as well as a next-generation 3-Gbps Serial ATA interface, making the devices ideal for high-end computing and high-bandwidth networking applications.

NEC Electronics Corp.

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