Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Oops!... Intel Did It Again

Intel, if you need reliable designs to support your latest CPUs, there used to be a variety of companies in the chipset business. Britney-Spears Boys

January 2011 had more than its fair share of bad news for Intel, culminating in a very expensive recall of their newest chipsets because of a design defect. Most of the press coverage focused on the financial hit, but us design engineers are dying to know "what happened?". What's most interesting is that the problem isn't a defect that manifests itself right away, but one the causes the component to deteriorate over time. At first, I thought "electromigration". But the best speculation/analysis I've seen this early has been from Mike Demler, who shares his theories in Price for a new SATA I/O $700M. A complete AMS verification? Priceless! and If ever EDA needed a ($700M) proof point on their value....

If that's the root cause of this problem, it's another data point showing fraying at the edges of our tried and true EDA suites: tools are not available or mature to help with analyzing reliability, materials, packaging, etc.

Update: Thanks to a link from Steve Leibson, I came across this very specific description and analysis of the problem.

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