Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ASIC design starts: Communications dominate but smart grid and transportation growing faster

PHOENIX, USA: The ASIC design start landscape has seen dramatic changes as end market demand rose and fell due to the financial meltdown in 2008, recovery in 2009 and 2010 and more uncertainty due to natural disasters and financial market fluctuations in 2011. Rising consumer spending for mobile and portable electronic devices helped mitigate some of the impact of these fluctuations on the ASIC design start landscape.

Another result of this tumult is the repartitioning of the System-on-a-Chip (SoC) market into three categories instead of the traditional two categories. Performance SoCs become Advanced Performance Multicore SoCs. Value SoCs become Value Multicore SoCs and a new category of SoC, the Basic SoC, was created. These changes reflect the new ways silicon designers are crafting their silicon solutions to meet changing market requirements and increasing design costs.

The new definitions reflect the trends towards using multiple CPU cores in the end silicon to increase performance and the extensive use of on-chip Interconnects to tie these CPU cores together. The new Basic SoC category is a reflection of the increasing use of CPU cores from 3rd Party Intellectual Property (SIP) vendors on Micro Controllers that had previously used proprietary CPUs to increase performance and reduce design cycle times.

These changes and many more are outlined in a new report from Semico Research Corp. entitled: ASIC Design Starts by Key End Market Applications, SC101-12, February 2012.

Some of the data discussed in 145 pages with 148 tables and 78 graphs are:
* Total ASIC design starts increased 11.1 percent in 2011 on top of a 9.8 percent growth in 2010. Semico is forecasting continued growth with an increase of 10.2 percent in 2012.
* Total ASIC design starts are forecast to show a CAGR of 6.6 percent from 2012-2016.
* The number of 'first time' designs in the SoC market increased 6.9 percent in 2011 while derivative SoC designs increased 12 percent.
* The fastest growing category of silicon solution is the basic SoC at a CAGR of 24.1 percent driven in part by new applications in Smart Grid and the Internet of Things.
* The largest end market for ASIC design starts is the Communications market with 40.9 percent of the total.
* The fastest growing market category is the Transportation segment with a CAGR of 9 percent.
* The Industrial category also saw increased growth with the rise of Smart Grid applications with a 9 percent CAGR through the forecast period.

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