1. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
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    I know their is a handful of cpu/microcontroller fab companies.
    Most places like Amd , and other cpu/microcontroller chip companies
    Just do the design and hire out the fab process since their aren't many places that have the equipment.

    My questions are

    1) Is their somewhere I can get a complete list of all companies /places that have the possible ability to fab a cpu/microcontroller (i.e not only design it but make it) ?

    2) Is it possible to get a cpu fab if you where able to create the designs for it.
    Obviously for PCB boards this is true and you can upload your eagle files usually. As well as it is not to to expensive to fab PCB designs for the most part.
    Is it any different when it comes to cpu or microcontrollers fabing?
     
  2. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    You could use an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and VHDL (Very high speed integrated circuit Hardware Definition Language) to define your CPU. This is the preferred way for smaller quantities. For larger quantities the VHDL can be sent to someone like Xilinx or Altera (they both make FPGAs too) for incorporation into an ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).

    For mass production, you'd likely have to get on the phone with Intel, Amd, Freescale, TI, etc... offer them $Millions and strike a deal. Of course you might just want to start your own wafer fabrication plant if it gets to that.
     
    Brownout likes this.
  3. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    So then correct me if I am wrong the only thing somebody can design
    Or has the ability to design is with the PCB board part or how the encloser looks for a electronic device.
    Not the components like resistors , IC, cap's, inductors, cpu, transistors,...etc etc that go on the board. Correct?

    If this is true in theory your designs are going to be for the most part tied to using already made components..

    (for the above context I mean the hobbiest or home electronic guy developing his own devices he will be restricted to the components out their resistors , IC , cap's ,...etc)

    Or could he design and get the components fabed by a company as well?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  4. vpoko

    Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    258
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    Why would you want to make your own resistors, inductors, and capacitors?
     
  5. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    2,375
    998
    Back in the day, we used different processes such as thick film and thin film to make our own resistors. We were doing hybrid SMT manufacturing. We would buy the transistor die, or in some cases, the IC die, and put gold traces and our home-made resistors down on a ceramic substrate. That's about as close as you'll ever come to making your own components.
     
  6. K7GUH

    Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    191
    23
    You are likely to find that making your own components is cost prohibitive, unless, of course, you have too much money.
    Every dime you spend in research is worth $100 or more in making a product.
     
  7. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Agreed but assuming a person was rich.
    And very smart
    Would it be possible to design a new electronic component / IC chip / cpu /microcontroller ...etc

    And get at least a few prototypes of it without mass producing it.
    And without wasting millions of dollars in the process.

    For example say he could waste millions of dollars / had the money to do it.
    But before he did he wanted to find the cheapest way to do it. (maybe it would be cheaper in a 3 world country since in US we only have a handful of cpu fab places out their)

    Would their every be a place that would do it for a few hundred/ few thousand instead of a few million ,...etc

    If not and you had to spend millions then at that point if you where very smart it would seem to reason on just buying the equipment and fabing it yourself. Since then you could do it anytime you wanted.

    Or would their be any benefit on going thru another fab place instead (other then maybe warranty and the fact you don't have to do it yourself/timing issues)
     
  8. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    2,375
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    Yes. Definitely.

    It can be prototyped in FPGA technology. That's how many, many new designs have been prototyped. See Post #2

    FPGA would be the cheapest way to go. You could be prototyping new designs for under $100.

    Probably not. NRE charges easily run into the millions.

    Fabs costs billions, not millions.
     
  9. vpoko

    Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    258
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    To piggyback on the question, what if you wanted to design analog IC's? A 741 op-amp, for example, has resistors, but I don't believe you can synthesize resistors in an FPGA.
     
  10. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
    4,670
    804
    There are many different technologies in the spectrum between complete per transistor desing to fpgas. You can for example get "prepopulated" wafers with different basic construction blocks like for which you just supply the interconect masks. The next step further is filling the wafers with building blocks of your choice and then connecting them.
    For very high frequency stuff or RF you would want to draw each component by hand.
     
  11. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Ok but would this stuff still be around as cheap as the FPGA's $100ish.
    To get the stuff for.
     
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