ASIC reference designs reduce cost and time by a third

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

UK chip design house Sondrel has launched a family of reference designs that could reduce design costs, risk and time by up to 30 percent compared to starting from scratch. The company has drawn on its experience of hundreds of ASIC designs to create a set of key reference designs that each provide a faster design time for high growth markets.

The first ASIC reference design is aimed at fixed and mobile (battery powered) applications, such as Smart Home, Smart Metering, Sensor Fusion and other occasions where a compact chip can add local end-point data processing for data collection and analysis along with inference processing. This SFA200 can be scaled with multiple units if required.

Sondrel will be releasing more than five IP platforms in this family through the year that target advanced nodes to provide cost effective devices. Two will be targeted at ADAS while the other three have scalable amounts of processing power that address the needs of different application areas.

“In a given application area, there is always considerable duplication in the design of each ASIC as there is a lot of communality in the interconnections and supporting IP that forms the architecture of the device,” said Graham Curren, Sondrel’s CEO.

“Rather than start from scratch with each new design, we have created reference designs that distils our experience of designing the architecture for such chips to create reusable IP platforms. Onto this, we add the customer’s IP with some customisation to create a bespoke solution for that customer,” he said. “This reduces the overall design costs and risk as our IP platform is tested and ready to use which also means that the time to market is reduced as well. We estimate that this approach, which we are calling Architecting the future, will provide time and cost savings of up to 30 percent for customers.”

“Potential customers for ASIC are often concerned that a custom ASIC will be very expensive. Our semi-custom, reusable IP platforms not only reduce costs but also makes it much easier to give indicative costs for customers right at the start so that they can see how cost effective and affordable our solution will be,” said Ian Walsh, Sondrel’s VP World-wide Sales. “Our experience with each reference design means that we can estimate the ballpark costs for design, IP licensing, foundry, test, qualification and packaging right through to the total cost per unit. Just what is needed for budgeting a new project and deciding its viability.”

To further reduce risk and time to market, Sondrel offers a full turnkey service that turns designs into fully tested, shipping silicon.

The SFA200 datasheet can be downloaded at

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