Comparison Of Different Types Of Ic Design Computer Knowledge Essay

The topic of the task is to compare on different kinds of IC design. Therefore, we must first understand the meaning of IC. An IC, included circuit, is also known as microcircuit, microchip, silicon chip, or chip. It really is a small electric circuit that involves semiconductor devices and other passive components. These components are manufactured over a ceramic or clear plastic container. Internal connections are welded from the chip to different number of external pins with regards to the chip's function.

IC design means that using logic and circuit design techniques to design and produce integrated circuits. It requires pathways so that information can stream properly and small electrical power components are prepared to increase space so that computer systems can be as small as possible. Surviving in this modern age of data information, we have to design faster and smaller IC to increase our day to day life quality also to catch up with the technology.

IC design is grouped mainly into two categories of analog and digital IC design. Digital IC design is the hottest in lifestyle such as microprocessor, FPGAs, memory (RAM, ROM, and flash) and digital ASICs. On the other hand, analog IC is employed in the look of sensors, ability management circuits, and functional amplifiers.

The physique of IC is shown below

Figure 1(a) Physique 1(b)

(Designed from introduction to ASIC, http://iroi. seu. edu. cn/books/asics/Book2/CH01/CH01. htm [1])

Figure 1(a) shows an IC chip where the pins will match openings in a printed-circuit board or breadboard. Body 1(b), the silicon chip (more properly known as a die) is fitted in the cavity under the sealed lid.

A greater detail classification of IC based on digital and analog is really as follow

Chart 1 : Hierarchical classification of IC

Referring to graph 1, even as we are more thinking about the branch of digital IC design, I increase more on its hierarchy compare to others. I am going to first compare between analog and digital IC design. I QUICKLY will explain on the benefits of each of them and mixed-signal IC design. Next, I am going to compare and describe on full custom and semi-custom IC follow by a straightforward description of silicon compilation as it isn't talked about in lectures. From then on, I am going to compare gate array, standard cell and PLDs.


Analog, digital and combined indication IC design

The contrast between analog and digital IC design is tabled as below


Analog IC design

Digital IC design


More susceptible to noise

Less noise


Less precise

More precise

Design difficulty

Harder to design

Easier to design




Power consumption



Heat dissipation



Design work

Demands strong knowledge of the principles, concepts and techniques

done by copying and reusing the same circuit functions or library

Life cycle


1 to 2 years




Information storage

Noise from increasing age degrades information

noise-immunity makes information not degraded

Table 1 : Comparison between analog IC design and digital IC design

Analog IC design

In analog IC design, the analog signs take any value from a given range, and each unique indication value signifies different information. It is often found in op-amps, linear regulators, phase locked loops, oscillators and productive filters. Therefore, hook change in the transmission may affect the look. For instance, an analog transmission is used to represent temps, with one volt representing one degree Celsius. Therefore, 10 volts would produce 10 certifications, and 10. 1 volts would produce 10. 1 diplomas. Analogue IC design produces sound, which really is a random disturbance, variance or arbitrary thermal vibrations of atomic particles. Since any changes within an analogue transmission is significant, any disruption will change in the initial signal and appears as sound. As the transmission is copied and re-copied, or transmitted over long ranges, these random variants are more significant and lead to signal degradation. Other resources of noise can include external electrical indicators or improperly designed components. These disturbances are reduced by shielding, and using low-noise amplifiers. [2] However, some irreducible noise like the shot sound in components will make an analog IC design imprecise. When designing an analog circuit, the decision of every single component, size, location, and connection is vital. Every small aspect such as the resistance, position and amount of resistor, will impact the performance of final result. Therefore, building an analog IC requires strong knowledge of the principles, concepts and techniques. Hence, it is stated that analog IC design is a lot more technical compare to digital IC design. It is harder to create because analogue circuit must be designed by hand, and the process is a lot less robotic than digital IC. However, once an analog IC is designed effectively with high signal to noise percentage, low distortion, low vitality consumption, high consistency and steadiness, it can have a life circuit greater than 10 years. Due to the long life cycle, the price tag on analog IC is low.

Digital IC design

A digital IC was created to accept only insight voltages of specific prices and it uses only two states which are the binary quantities, "on" and "off" representing 1 and 0 or "true" and "false". This is achieved by using the reasoning of Boolean algebra. The three basic logic functions in a digital IC are NOT, AND, and OR. A real truth table is needed to design a digital IC. As talked about in the lectures, the design of digital systems is divided into combinational systems, which really is a representation of a couple of logic functions, and sequential systems, which are state machines. It is often within microprocessors, FPGAs, thoughts (RAM, ROM, and display) and digital ASIC.

Digital IC design produces less noises or even no noises. Digitally represented impulses are sent using binary collection of 1 1 and 0. It could be reconstructed, retransmitted or transmitted over long distance without any problem provided the noises during transmission struggles to adjust the 1s and 0s. Hence, digital IC is more correct compare to analog IC. Even in a concise disc of around 6 billion binary digits, the info or data can be provided specifically because each digit is handled by the same kind of hardware and there is absolutely no noises in the handling process. Digital IC is better to design because it is managed by software such as electric design automation tools (EDA) so that functions can be changed without changing the hardware. If consumers identify error, they can merely upgrade the program to rectify the mistake. As digital IC is almost immune to sound, information can be stored and retrieved completely and accurately without any damage or degradation.

However, there are a few disadvantages of digital IC. Because digital IC is very thick in circuitry, digital circuits use more energy than analog circuits to perform the same responsibilities, thus producing more heating. In lightweight or battery-powered systems this may limit use of digital systems. [3] Digital IC emphasizes on swiftness and cost proportion computing to achieve the lowest possible cost with the highest operating acceleration. Designers must use better algorithms to process digital indicators, or use new process to increase the integration cost. Therefore, the life span cycle of digital IC is very brief, about 1 year -2 years and the price is higher than analog IC. [4] Since digital circuits involve an incredible number of times as many components as analog circuits, a lot of the design work is performed by copying and reusing the same circuit functions, especially by using digital design software that contains libraries of pre-structured circuit components. [5]

Mixed signal IC design

A mixed-signal integrated circuit is any built in circuit that has both analog circuits and digital circuits on a single semiconductor pass away. [6] Mixed-signal are available in ADC or DAC and digital radio chips. Since mixed-signal IC requires both analog and digital design, it will always be designed for an extremely specific goal and because of this, their design requires a high level of skills and careful use of computer aided design (CAD) tools. Therefore this kind of design is very complicated andcostly.

Full-custom and semi-custom IC design

The assessment between analog and digital IC design is tabled as below


Full-custom IC design

Semi-custom IC design




Manufacturing time






Area of IC






Table 2 : comparison between full-custom and semi-custom IC design

Full-custom IC design

Full-custom design is a technique for designing included circuits by specifying the layout of each specific transistor, logic cells, mask layers and the interconnections between them. [7] In essence, the IC is designed from scuff and tailor-made to meet the requirement of a particular purpose. The main goal of experiencing a full-custom design is to maximize the performance and reduce the area of IC. Therefore, a whole lot of researches and studies are had a need to create a full-custom IC which results in very high development cost and long production period. Usually, full-custom IC is catered for large creation so that the high development cost is totally used. Full-custom IC is produced from time to time when there is absolutely no appropriate existing libraries available that can be used for the look. This is because existing libraries are out-of-date or consume too much vitality.

Semi-custom IC design

Semi-custom IC design can be partly custom-made to serve different functions within its general area of request. [8] It allows a certain extend of modification during the creation process. It gets the diffused layer completely defined however the libraries of pre-structured circuit components with the same circuit functions can be reused. This may save a lot of time and cost to in producing a semi-custom IC design. Therefore, the production cost if low and it can be used widely in nearly every IC design about the world. Semi-custom IC design is further categorised into 3 groupings which can be gate array, standard cell and programmable logic devices circuits.

Silicon compilation IC design

Silicon compilation is by using a software system that requires a user's features and automatically creates a built-in circuit (IC). [9] Generally, a custom made is given a information of the system, by using a silicon compiler, mask and test information are produced which is the simple combinational circuit or a finite express machine. The first rung on the ladder of silicon compilation is Convert a hardware-description language such as Verilog or VHDL or FpgaC into logic. Next, we shall place the logic gates on the IC accompanied by routing the typical cells together to form the required logic. [9] A drawback of this method of IC design is the fact almost all of the silicon compilers do not utilize the section of silicon effectively. Therefore, it will always be produced in small volume. It may used to create simple cells to build up standard cell libraries. [10]

Gate array, standard cell and programmable logic devices (PLDs) IC

The assessment between gate array, standard cell and programmable logic devices circuits is tabled as below


Gate array

Standard cell




Very flexible

Less flexible


Less risky

Less risky


Manufacturing Cost




Manufacturing Difficulty



Very complex

Manufacturing time




Silicon size








Heat dissipation




Table 3 : Contrast between gate array, standard cell and PLDs (FPGA) IC

Gate array IC

In a gate-array-based IC, the transistors, logic gates and other lively devices are predefined on the silicon wafer. The sole uncompleted area of the creation is the ultimate surface layer, which identifies the interconnect between your elements. Joining these elements allows the function of the IC to be tailored. Therefore, it's very flexible and less high-risk since it uses predefined elements. Furthermore, adding a surface layer of interconnects requires only a small cost and short time to complete. However, the potato chips designed using gate array techniques are a little bigger in silicon area than standard cell IC, which makes them more costly and harder to manufacture. [11]

Standard cell IC

In standard cell IC, different sizes of predesigned skin cells are used and a large combination of cells can be created which is known as mega skin cells. Mega cells can be found in microcontroller or microprocessor. These cells, which contain logic functions such as gates, latches, buffers and flip-flops, are known as standard cell library. Designer only needs to determine only the keeping the standard skin cells and the interconnects in a typical cell IC. [12] Standard cell IC is adaptable because it uses both digital and analog functions. The transistor sizes can be evolved to improve acceleration and performance. It has a smaller silicon size and therefore a more small are compare to gate array IC. Furthermore, they have faster speed which results in higher temperature dissipation.

(Modified from Standard-Cell-Based ASICs, http://iroi. seu. edu. cn/books/asics/Book2/CH01/CH01. 1. htm#pgfId=1331)[1]

Figure 2 shows A cell-based IC die with a single standard-cell area (a versatile block) as well as four set blocks.

Programmable logic devices IC

PLD can be an electronic element used to make reconfigurable digital circuits an undefined function at the time of manufacture. [13] Prior to starting to use PLD in a circuit, it must be configured or designed to create a part custom-made to a particular software. This makes PLD an extremely flexible design to fulfill any custom specs. However, the limited size (<10000 comparable gates) of PLD IC makes it not as versatile as array gate or standard cell IC. Since PLD can only just be changed using software, it cannot have any last-minute design changes. The equipment to make a PLD IC is cheap but large devices can be costly to the amount of several hundred us dollars per chip. Since PLD IC is very small and operates in high speed, it produces a significant amount of temperature at the same time.

(adapted from Programmable Logic Devices, http://iroi. seu. edu. cn/books/asics/Book2/CH01/CH01. 1. htm)[1]

Figure 2 shows a PLD die. The macrocells typically consist of programmable array logic accompanied by a flip-flop or latch. The macrocells are connected using a big programmable interconnect block.

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