How does Intel design CPU?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by jcyang, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. jcyang

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    I am pretty new to computer hardware world,which is quite different from its software companion.

    The terminology is somehow hard to undertand for me now,to name a few what get me confused, ASIC, CPLD, FPAG, Soc,SMT,PCB, etc.But I hope I could develop my CPU someday in the futher.So I am curios about how Intel make their CPU?Steps?or some standard process?

    Whats the percent of coding VHDL/Verlogic?What about the layout?Could you give me a easy-to-understand description.

  2. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
  3. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
    It's not probably wise to start with Everest when you are new to mountain climbing :) That aside, it could become a great motivation that push you forward.

    For now, a lot of reading is what you need. To get an overview of what are involved in designing a chip, internet is a pretty good source. Try Wikipedia or other sources. Get familiar with the terminologies, the steps, etc.

    Designing and manufacturing are two different but connected processes. The former is mostly computer based, simulation, etc. It could be done with relatively affordable hardware and software. Maybe not in Intel scale with billions of transistors, that would take a really long time. However, designing a simple working CPU that demonstrates most of the techniques/implementations is possible. Think in term of an ARM core rather than the latest x86 core.

    The later is where you need serious money. There are of course affordable (!) fabs that can manufacture your designs, certainly not comparable in class and process capabilities with TSMC or GloFo for the quantity that you need. These are usually used by research or educational institutions, and offer good processes. If the design fits, it could even be implemented in an FPGA for much less money. It's an affordable way of turning a design into a working hardware.

    Maybe you'd be a future member of the Dragon design team, who knows? ;)
  4. jcyang

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    The video is intersting but short :)

    Thanks for your advice.Things are from small,and gain bigger with time goes on.I should work harder to learn rather than imaging the brilliant feature.

    Good to hear from you guys.
  5. S_lannan

    Active Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    most of the R&D would have to be developing smaller manufacturing technologies ie. 32nm.
    Intels newest CPUs are still based on the P6 architecture which dates back around 15 years ago!
  6. rjenkins

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 6, 2005
  7. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    One of Intel's first CPU chips, the venerable 8008, which I first used in 1971, was designed without the benefit of modern CAD tools, or VHDL, or Verilog. Paper schematics, RTL descriptions, and hand taped mask layouts were de rigeur for the time period. We used an assembler written in FORTRAN that ran on an HP minicomputer to write sofware for it. It ran with a clock of 487.5 KHz, yeah kiloherrtz. Three instructions every 100 microseconds. A real speed demon. Go figure. It replaced a three card CPU based on the 74181 which was mentioned in another recent thread.
  8. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009