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How much does it cost to have a custom ASIC made?

I'm wondering, just out of curiosity, what it might cost for somebody to have their own integrated circuit design fabricated. I know next to nothing about any of this, so a good breakdown of ballpark figures for different technologies would be nice.


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The two organization for short run prototyping IC service I know of are:

www.mosis.com -> US one
www.europractice-ic.com -> EU one

My impression is that both services are directed toward academia but accepts commercial/independent projects too (I know that people at my Alma mater used both services with success).

For basic info about prices check out the link: http://www.europractice-ic.com/docs/MPW2012-general-v6.pdf

Both provide wide range of technologies - from quite old ones to quite new ones. I am leaving the work on learning for what can be done at what technology for you. However basic info is that in .18u tech one can pack about 100k gates per sq mm. Going up or down with technology node will roughly double or half of the gates per sq mm. So at .13u you will pack 200k and at .25u you will pack about 50k gates per sq mm.

This is for prototyping (that is you will get ~40 dies for each run), for production you will need to talk with foundry or specialized provider directly. Expect all hurdles attached with dealing with big business (NDAs, lawyers, will talk with you only if you want to spend big $ with them etc.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a free/Free software suite that covers everything you need to go from zero to ASIC, or do you need to budget in big $$$ to buy expensive software? Let's assume time is free (hobby project) \$\endgroup\$
    – drxzcl
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 12:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @drxzcl: Yes, many people have used the Magic layout tool and sent its output files to Mosis, getting a physical chip back. \$\endgroup\$
    – davidcary
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @drxzcl: Yes, I hear that many people use the "Wol" IC layout tool -- part of the Chipmunk system -- and sent its output files to Mosis, getting a physical chip back. \$\endgroup\$
    – davidcary
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated link: europractice-ic.com/docs/MPW2014-general-v8.pdf I would edit the post, but SE complained to me about some 6 character minimum edit and I don't feel like fighting it right now. Plus, posting this as a comment lets other people see the naming pattern, which will be beneficial the next time it changes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 7:03

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