Monday, August 24, 2009

"CHIPS: Silicon circuit board seeks to replace ASICs"

3D chip stacks of bare die promise to shorten interconnection lines, but the vertically packed chips heat each other up, making the silicon circuit board (SiCB) from siXis a viable alternative. Billed as a poor-man's ASIC, the technique packs bare die side-by-side for easier cooling, using short interconnections on the SiCB that are as fast as 3D stacking, but cheaper than even a standard ASIC. Look first for military applications moving to SiCB, then a general migration over the next few years. R.C.J.

You may be able to kiss that printed-circuit board good-bye soon, instead mounting bare die on a wafer-scale silicon circuit board that essentially eliminates the power-hungry soldered interconnections between packages. Startup siXis Inc. (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) recently selected foundry SVTC Technologies (San Jose, Calif.) to fabricate its embedded silicon board computing modules. It claims the boards will bridge the gap between pc-board prototypes and ASIC-based designs. The silicon circuit board also is billed by siXis as a low-cost, low-power replacement for ASICs. The company is advising customers to program their logic into an FPGA, select memory chips and peripherals, then let siXis install bare die versions of the chips on a custom silicon board, essentially creating what it claims is a system-in-package.