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Outsourced IC design starts grew by 20%

Posted: 27 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC design  design outsourcing 

Chip design outsourcing starts has grown by 20 per cent in 2007, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. The survey involved 62 vendors of integrated circuit design services, from which it reported strong growth in designs of 90nm or below.

In 2006, 29 design service companies responded. The number increased to 62 last year, representing nearly 35 per cent of all vendors worldwide, reported Gartner in its Semiconductor DQ Monday Report.

"The highlight of this second survey is the continued growth in the number of outsourced chip design starts," Gartner analyst Ganesh Ramamoorthy wrote in the weekly report. "The total number of design starts captured by survey respondents grew by about 20 per cent in 2007, with respondents reporting strong early growth at process node levels of 90 nm and below."

According to the survey, partial design starts grew by 52 per cent, while full-chip design starts grew by 28 per cent. Physical implementation starts at 90 nm or below accounted for nearly 32 per cent of all physical implementation starts during 2007, the survey also found.

The survey also found that outsourcing of key design support services such as IP integration, RTL synthesis, verification, analogue and mixed-signal design and consultation, physical library, and IP qualification and hardening, are rising.

Gartner likewise reported that Asia/Pacific-based survey respondents accounted for 70 per cent of total design starts captured.

"The survey findings confirm Gartner's belief that the chip design outsourcing market will continue to grow at a steady pace in the coming years," Ramamoorthy said. "Design service vendors that position themselves as providers of specialist integrated circuit design skills need to expand their capabilities to include verification, integration, and IP supply, and should position themselves as a one-stop shop for all services relating to semiconductor design.

"Full-chip design contracts are certainly more lucrative, but not all chip vendors will outsource the full-chip design—especially with fewer chips being designed every year," he continued.

"Therefore, it is imperative that design service vendors broaden their skills and service portfolios to provide partial design services for specific designs (or across multiple stages of a design)," Ramamoorthy concluded.

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