Friday, January 14, 2011

Birth of a World Beater

Nvidia-Tegra-T2-embedded-Colibri-computer-module-by-Toradex If you followed the Consumer Electronics Show news at all last week, you heard a lot about ARM, ARM, ARM. Mindshare-wise, it would appear to have Intel on the defensive. (I wonder how Intel feels about selling off their StrongARM now?)

I plan to learn more about ARM's architecture and products. For today's history lesson, Birth of a world beater features one of the original ARM designers.

I'm curious to learn the technical merits of the ARM architecture. Is it inherently superior? Or is the main advantage the scads of software eco-system available, with low-power coming from standard implementation and process tricks?

Technical superiority and business success don't always go hand-in-hand, anyway. I've attend HOTChips before, and I was amused how all the microprocessor experts there bemoaned x86's incredible success, even though they knew it was inferior to [insert your favorite CPU here];. x86 was just good enough to survive, and had been in the right place at the right time. Is now the time for ARM?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fancy Video of a Modern Fab

Here's a cool video to give your family and friends an idea of what our industry produces: Thanks to sleibson for his post Watch Lexar make them memory chips – Months of time compressed into six minutes of video | EDA360 Insider.

Early in my career, I got to visit the IBM Burlington fab when they were introducing a brand-spanking-new technology called "CMOS". Little did I know that would be my last chance to set foot in a semiconductor fab. So, I'm always fascinated to see how things look today. Some things I learned:

  • there's another domestic fab besides Intel and IBM!
  • Micron owns Lexar?
  • some of the coolest automation is the mechanical stuff, like the wire bonder and the laser marking

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First There Was Semi-Blog

now: SemiWiki! SemiWiki image Created by several fellow EDA bloggers, this is an intriguing new EDA/Chip Design site worth visiting and contributing to.

I know that several bloggers and old ASIC hands wanted to put together an open community for sharing opinions and experiences, and this is the most substantive effort to date. (I tip my hat to John Ford's now-defunct "DFT Digest" site, which was a pioneer in this area.)

Friday, January 07, 2011