The rise of the microprocessor, libraries of standard cells for ASICs, and finally, the programmable logic device (PLD) and FPGA have all acted to consolidate many hundreds if not thousands of discrete logic functions within one part, simplifying complicated designs. This has slowed the attraction to and growth of discrete standard logic. However, Semico Research Corp. continues to see a strong need for standard logic in many systems.
Even though complete new systems are no longer being designed with standard logic, use of discrete parts is still the least expensive means of adding a few gates to an existing or new design. This feature, along with the need to support legacy designs for military/aerospace, automotive, and telecom systems, ensures that standard logic families will continue to be a factor in the market.
As with other ICs, higher-performance end applications tend to require increased power and enhanced thermal performance from standard logic and interface products. Although many of these products are classified as cost-effective applications, they still require high speed, low-loop inductance, and a short path to ground in low-profile packages. Such applications include laptop computers, office equipment, disk drives, communications boards, audio/visual devices, and data-acquisition devices. To achieve the enhanced thermal characteristics, products have low-profile packages that have deeper down-set for the die. This allows the exposed pad to be soldered to the pc board, thereby improving electrical and thermal properties.
The outlook for these products remains positive, as total single-chip integration for many end products is still years away. Designers will continue to surround VLSI chips with several standard logic and interface ICs for the foreseeable future.