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Building Custom Chips Just Got Easier

Jan. 6, 2020
zGlue’s ChipBuilder Pro lets designers create chips using its 2.5D chiplet Smart Fabric.

zGlue’s 2.5D chiplet Smart Fabric platform (Fig. 1) builds chips out of chiplets that are connected with a silicon interposer layer, very similar to a chip-based printed circuit board. The chiplets are functional blocks like processors and peripherals typically found in a custom chip or in discrete components. A zGlue-based chip has the advantages of tight integration, small packaging, and power efficiency of an ASIC, but with significantly less cost. This makes it practical for smaller runs as well as creating more customized solutions quickly. 

ChipBuilder Pro (Fig. 2) is the latest tool that's being shown at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, where the product was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree. The visual zGlue Integrated Platform (ZIP) allows developers to select from 1500 chiplets to include in their designs. This includes chiplets like Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC and Wi-Fi chiplets. Custom chiplets can be added to the list by working with zGlue. The zGlue ChipletStore also has 60 Quickstart Templates. The software provides design and release management plus versioning support.

zGlue sells the ChipBuilder Pro and provides the ChipBuilder 3.0 Community Edition for free. ChipBuilder Pro has a yearly subscription price of $25,000 that includes 10 chips of one new design every year.  An additional 100 chips run $25,000.

The yearly subscription includes 40 hours of engineering support as well as parasitic net extraction and system verification. Security features include IP protection and visibility into account activity. This approach also supports system reconfiguration during the hardware debug process. This often allows developers to fix bugs without the need for remanufacturing.

About the Author

William G. Wong | Senior Content Director - Electronic Design and Microwaves & RF

I am Editor of Electronic Design focusing on embedded, software, and systems. As Senior Content Director, I also manage Microwaves & RF and I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, programmers, developers and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.

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I earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Computer Science from Rutgers University. I still do a bit of programming using everything from C and C++ to Rust and Ada/SPARK. I do a bit of PHP programming for Drupal websites. I have posted a few Drupal modules.  

I still get a hand on software and electronic hardware. Some of this can be found on our Kit Close-Up video series. You can also see me on many of our TechXchange Talk videos. I am interested in a range of projects from robotics to artificial intelligence. 

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