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The CPU: From Conception to Birth

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the cradle-to-grave dept.

Hardware 179

CrzyP writes "Most of us have seen flowcharts and heard lectures on how a CPU functions in a computer. What a lot of us do not know, however, is how a CPU is created. Sudhian describes the step-by-step process of how a CPU is made, from grains of sand to a wafer of circuits. Ahhh sand, the building block of life...in the tech world!"

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how to make a cup huh? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740224)

that is not "news" dude. this suppose to be "news for nerds"

Had Homer submitted it.. (0)

gurry (636788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740486)

Mmmm..... sand.... the building block of life...

Link? (1, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740227)

Seems broken.

Hmmm... Sand ...

Re:Link? (1)

SorcererX (818515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740234)

Link works fine here.

Re:Link? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740302)

secret phallus

Oh, duh. (1, Informative)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740246)

The link [sudhian.com] works. Just a browser fart. Never mind.

Re:Oh, duh. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740315)

secret phallus

Re:Link? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740275)

secret phallus

Just in case the server crashes and burns... (1)

mirror_dude (775745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740316)

Just in case the server crashes and burns (like they usually do),I have put up a mirror.
The mirror of http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=619 is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_6/www.sudhian.com/s howdocs.cfm%3faid=619 [demonmoo.com]

Re:Just in case the server crashes and burns... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740328)

secret phallus

Dear Taco and Timothy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740230)

Gay men can not conceive.

MOD PARENT INSIGHTFUL AND INFORMATIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740457)

I would never have guessed.

But you might want to put the qualification "with each other."

kthxbye.

well.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740232)


It's slashdotted already so here's the poop:

1 Write out chip functions.
2 Emulate on high end computers.
3 Tape out prototypes.
4 Port Linux to new chip.
5 Send SCO US$699 per core.

Re:well.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740380)

The secret phallus appreciates your endeavour, and will be raping your daughter soon.

Re:well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740390)

6 Profit!

Google Cache Link ... (4, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740240)

Site is getting pretty doggy ... here is the obligatory link to the Google Cache [66.102.7.104]

Re:Google Cache Link ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740247)

KARMA WHORE
The site is doing just fine. NOTE TO MODS: "Underrated" will score this higher without the benefit of whoring 'is karma.

Re:Google Cache Link ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740294)

No it won't, you shithead. Underrated gives you karma, it's Funny that doesn't give you karma. Scoring Underated just excludes you from M2. Learn the fucking rules before posting like a know-it-all cunt, you cunt. Also, posting useful information is not karma whoring. Shut the fuck up already.

Yours faithfully,
secret phallus

sand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740241)

ah sand. just like carbon is to humans, unless you're talking to someone who follows the book of genesis all the way down to the letter.

Re:sand (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740260)

secret phallus

Ob. Simpsons (3, Funny)

themoodykid (261964) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740338)

So the next time you're walking on the beach, enjoying an hourglass, or making cheap, low-grade windshields, think where we'd be without ... SAND!

Re:Ob. Simpsons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740348)

where would be without a secret phallus? that is the question you must answer to transcend.

Re:Ob. Simpsons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740357)

Mu!

Re:Ob. Simpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740368)

do you not have a secret phallus? perhaps you do not understand how the secret phallus moves. to clarify, it is most secret, and most phallatic.

Re:Ob. Simpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740708)

Is this what passes for trolling today on slashdot? Really, secret phallus? Come on man, at least GNAA sounds offensive, yours just doesn't make any sense.

Summary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740245)

If you didn't already know what was in the article, you shouldn't be on Slashdot.

Slashdot: News for dorks who try to pass off as nerds.

Parent wasn't a troll (4, Interesting)

putaro (235078) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740482)

It's not a troll - that article was written at a 9th grade level at best. I read the whole thing looking for something interesting and there wasn't.

Slashdotted already... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740268)

but here's the scope:

When a daddy CPU and a mommy CPU really loves each other, they get together reeeal close and...

Re:Slashdotted already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740503)

and... ... melt from the heat off each other.

Re:Slashdotted already... (5, Funny)

isny (681711) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740570)

When a daddy CPU and a mommy CPU really loves each other, they get together reeeal close and...
A bunch of slashdotters imagine a beowulf cluster?

Re:Slashdotted already... (3, Funny)

paul248 (536459) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740577)

When a daddy CPU and a mommy CPU really loves each other, they get together reeeal close and...
reduce the effective surface area of the cooling system?

Re:Slashdotted already... (4, Funny)

endx7 (706884) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740578)

...now you have a dual processor system!

Slashdotted already...Goatse CPU. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740644)

"When a daddy CPU and a mommy CPU really loves each other, they get together reeeal close and..."

But what happens when a daddy CPU and a daddy CPU get together?

Re:Slashdotted already...Goatse CPU. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740742)

secret phallus...

The real question is ... (5, Funny)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740271)

did computation begin at conception, or at birth?

Re:The real question is ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740307)

secret phallus

Re:The real question is ... (1)

mediocrat (820482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740713)

... or when the pointer jumped after mindlessly oscillating around the same spot for a few minutes :)

DNA microarrays (4, Interesting)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740274)

Ok... so the article is not exactly new, nor interesting, so I'm gonna talk about something related :

DNA microarrays from Affymetrix, used to quantify gene expression, are built on a process inspired from CPU design (photolitography - read more about it here [affymetrix.com] ). Chips are getting more complex with time, ala Moore Law (shrinking the probe cells to get more density); the most recent human chip harbor 1 300 000 probes representing 39000 transcripts and variants.

So technology developed for CPU is helping to find cures for diseases, increase our knowledge of life... etc. Isn't cool?

Snore (Troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740340)

I guess I expected more from /. But - then again, perhaps nothing is left but old hats and moldy CMP-SCI102 texts.

Re:DNA microarrays (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740341)

the most secret phallus is upon you and will be with you always

Re:DNA microarrays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740355)

And yet you still have some slashbots whining about solving math problems instead of "curing cancer".

Sigh.

Well, DUH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740403)

...the article is not exactly new, nor interesting...

It was posted by Michael for Chrissakes! Malda hired Michael to make all the other editors look good!

Yeesh! Think before you post, will ya!?

Re:Well, DUH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740412)

Foiled again!

I dunno...ever since they hired Sims... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740424)

...I've learned to appreciate all the other editors. Even Timothy.

Good plan Rob. Really good plan!

Re:DNA microarrays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740465)

"Chips are getting more complex with time, ala Moore Law [...] so technology developed for CPU is helping to find cures for diseases, increase our knowledge of life... etc. Isn't cool?

That's Moore's Law. Much more interesting is the Law of Unavoidable Evil, which states that all new technology must first be used for nefarious purposes: Engineering new diseases that can bypass the cures, increasing our knowledge of death, developing new biochemicalcybernuclearpsychokinetic weapons and generally just finding new ways to uberize our ability to pwn one another. Sweet. Isn't that much cooler?

Re:DNA microarrays (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740468)

So technology developed for CPU is helping to find cures for diseases, increase our knowledge of life... etc. Isn't cool?

That depends. Can you overclock it?

A little on the short side, but with pretty pics (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740276)

It's fairly short and pretty generalized. Lots of pretty pictures though.

A quick search on Google ("silicon fabrication introduction") turns up arguably better links.

One from SGS Thompson [eteonline.com]
A basic one from Intel [intel.com]
From Bell Labs [bell-labs.com]

And there are plenty more.

Re:A little on the short side, but with pretty pic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740353)

And of course there is always the Britney spears guide to semiconductor physics... http://britneyspears.ac/lasers.htm [britneyspears.ac]

mod up! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740438)

I'd forgotten about this site. Funny as fuck.

So dull... (2, Informative)

TiMac (621390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740281)

The author blurs sentences together like a 6 year old child might, using the same sentence construction over and over sometimes. It's certainly not a FUN read, but has some interesting info in it.

Re:So dull... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740336)

this post is shitty and overrated and what's more, secret phallus.

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740347)

You are right. Every sentence is the same. It is like this. I had a very difficult time reading through the first paragraph. It was tedious.

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740376)

I guess I expected more from /. But - then again, perhaps nothing is left but old hats and moldy CMP-SCI102 texts.

Re:So dull... (3, Insightful)

potaz (211754) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740381)

Good god, he also consistently misuses "it's", often in a series of three at a time.

Its really annoying.

Re:So dull... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740494)

From what I understand, he's French, and English is not his first language. May want to cut him a little slack based on that. ;)

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740709)

HELLO MODERATORS

IRONY NOT REGISTERING TODAY?

the parent is complaining about something and then deliberately doing it at the end of his post, quite cleverly I might add. It obviously requires too much thought for the people who modded this insightful/interesting.

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740383)

Maybe, but I could just be the subject matter that contibutes to the dull nature of the article.

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740389)

I guess anyone can submit articles to slashdot these days.

Re:So dull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740481)

I must say... so what? Are we here to read about the tech or to whine about the English? Wait, no... don't answer that.

This is Youforgotacommaandleftoutadot.
News for grammar nazis. Stuff that matters to nobody else.

The CPU/Computer Paradox (2, Funny)

Seventh Magpie (826312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740283)

So what came first? The CPU? Or the computer that built the CPU?

Re:The CPU/Computer Paradox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740358)

the secret phallus came before both. the secret phallus has always existed, exists, and will exist always and forever, amen.

Re:The CPU/Computer Paradox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740450)

If it is secret, how do you know about this? I smell a false god.

Um, phallus is good. Gina is better. And hermaphroditic Siamese twins are best of all.

Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740284)

Is this for real? A two page article ? (and mostly pictures)

This article is too short and uninformative that it shouldn't have even made Slashdot!

Decisions, decisions... (5, Funny)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740303)

Use the silicon for processors, or implants... processors, or implants...

Re:Decisions, decisions... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740350)

Remember... Like I told my mom to keep her from getting the two confused:

siliCON is for chips, siliCONE is for tits!

Re:Decisions, decisions... (-1, Troll)

josmum (828708) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740417)

use it for a secret phallus

Re:Decisions, decisions... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740448)

use it for a secret phallus

Dude, you forgot to check the AC box this time.
Time derivative of karma: negative.

Woohooo!!! (-1, Troll)

3770 (560838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740305)

I just submitted an article and if this article made it then my submission should make it too!

Starting from scratch (5, Interesting)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740306)

I have often wondered about what exactly goes into the technology we take for granted.

The thought experiment I perform is to imagine what it would take to get the end product from absolutely nothing except the stuff around you found naturally. Working in the basement of the University of Washington physics laboratory, I often wondered how someone would build a milling machine or an industrial lathe. You can cut wood with rudimentary tools, and making crude iron or steel tools isn't too complicated, but how would construct a precise machine with all the guages and dials and electric motors and so on?

It sure brings me to a realization of just how far we have come from slogging about in mud and eating rats like we did in the dark ages. Our world is so complicated that no one person can understand more than a small fraction of it. Everyone is a specialist of one sort of another, even the garbage collectors and sewage system maintainers. Every generation of worker brings ingenuity to the job, and bit by bit their job becomes more and more complicated yet efficient.

Soon, will we each have a small chunk of humanity's experience in our skulls? Will we rule an insanely complicated world governed by machines and processes no one can fully understand? Or have we already come to that point?

Re:Starting from scratch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740342)

We've been there already - the question now is, do we actually rule that insanely complicated world?

Building a Metalworking Shop from scratch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740369)

Each step requires the equipment from the previous steps:

1) Charcoal Foundry for Scrap Aluminum
2) Lathe
3) Metal Shaper
4) Milling Machine

http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/series/index. html [lindsaybks.com]

Re:Starting from scratch (0, Offtopic)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740372)

the secret phallus has you.

Re:Starting from scratch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740387)

I have been thinking much about this lately. Everyone is a specialist and yet no one can know a whole lot (relatively) outside of their own area.

It troubles me very deeply. I take a mild interest in most things, and try to stay informed and yet I really know nothing about other fields.

As someone who deeply values knowledge this drives me completely insane :(

The question is: which area would you like to know the most?

Specialization, optimization, and crisis (3, Insightful)

abulafia (7826) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740388)

This is an extremely interesting thought to me, and I've been playing with it mentally for a while now. What happens at the limits of optimization?

Vinge [sdsu.edu] , and others, have played with this concept in a sci-fi arena, but I wonder - what happens when, to take your example, garbage men hit the wall on efficiency at disposing garbage? (This implies the whole supply chain - or perhaps I should say the removal chain - of garbage mitigation specialists hitting a limit, including recyclers, dumpers, shippers, lobbyists, specialist accountants, etc.) Inputs to the garbage industry will likely be still capable of increasing demand (or, again oddly for this example, an aspect of supply), so economics start kicking in, raising costs of disposal. With garbage, we're seeing the start of this already, and in some extreme cases, lots of noise (a certain mountain in Navada [yuccamountain.org] , for instance).

This has, in turn, second order effects for lots of other industries and people, and almost nobody understands the problem, other than the people who are the maxed out specialists, for a given social, technological and economic milleu. Problems, solutions and examples of poor communication and scams start to multiply.

It is fun stuff to think about, especially because I think we're getting a little close in certain areas. I hope to have a paper out on this soonish.

Re:Starting from scratch (1)

f(y)(!x) (826968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740432)

"You can cut wood with rudimentary tools, and making crude iron or steel tools isn't too complicated, but how would construct a precise machine with all the guages and dials and electric motors and so on?"
You can attach a wire, battery, and light and have a simple circuit. Even making an AND or OR circuit isn't real complicated but how do you construct billions of these circuits in order to type this simple comment.
I think each of us already has small chunk of humanity's experience in our skulls.

Re:Starting from scratch (0, Flamebait)

sam_da_mann (758118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740452)

And some, have none

Re:Starting from scratch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740751)

and some have a secret phallus....

Re:Starting from scratch (3, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740510)


It sure brings me to a realization of just how far we have come from slogging about in mud and eating rats like we did in the dark ages.

"Oh, Denis, there's some lovely filth down here!"

It only takes a few days in complete, freezing electrical darkness to realize how dependent and utterly helpless big cities can be (and therefore its citizens) without technology [imiuru.com] .

Luckily in 1998 there were lots of people less troubled to help us out, and people mobilized from everywhere possible.

Re:Starting from scratch (1)

starm_ (573321) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740537)

Yeah one interesting question is how did they get the first perfectly rectagular, cylindrical or regular shaped object. It is not trivial to get it without a mold. It must somewhat involve melting and hardening something to get a strait surface then building on that surface. Grinding, turning etc...

"Build Your Own Metalworking Shop from Scrap" (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740560)

There's a classic set of five books, Build Your Own Metalworking Shop from Scrap [lindsaybks.com] , by Dave Gingery, written in the 1970s. This set covers how to bootstrap up a machine shop starting from very little.

Step one is to make a charcoal foundry, starting with a pail, fire clay, and a steel pipe. With this you can cast parts. You hand-carve wooden masters, make sand moulds, and pour molten metal into them.

Once you can cast, the next step is to build a lathe - the simplest machine tool. You'd probably have to make a very crude lathe first, but once you have even a crude lathe, you can make round things. Then you can make a better lathe.

The next tool is a shaper, or planer, which allows you to make flat things. You're now up to the machining technology of 1850 or so, and can make small steam engines. Take a look at a steam locomotive. It's all castings with a little finish machining. All the finish machining is either lathe or planer work - there are no milled parts with complex surfaces.

The other early power tool, not mentioned in Gingery, is a steam hammer. You don't need that for small work, but the steam hammer is the tool that made it possible to make stuff too big to hammer out by hand. Watt's factory had a steam hammer by 1810 or so.

Once you have the lathe and planer, you can build, with difficulty, a milling machine. Once you have a milling machine, you can build more milling machines without too much trouble. And you can build a better mill than the one you've got.

Once you have a good mill, you can make almost anything makeable in metal.

People have built machine tools from these books, so it's quite possible.

Build Your Own [Human] from Scrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740658)

"People have built machine tools from these books, so it's quite possible."

And yet we still haven't been able to "bootstrap" into humanity.

Re:Starting from scratch (1)

hkht (828161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740656)

"Two ways to end the war: (1) Kill all terrorists. (2) Convert to Islam. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not a part of either" from silcon chips to world peace!

20th post (-1, Offtopic)

Comrade_X (828470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740330)

OMG I got 20th Post

Is /. dying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740364)

Seriously. I have a 20 year old book that details this just as well. Probably better. There must be more "newsworthy" submissions. Maybe we need a system by which editors are *required* to read the linked articles?

Wacky (-1, Offtopic)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740375)

I can't believe this is possible but..

http://shutyourfuckingfaceunclefucker.slashdot.o rg /

Sand? Cornerstone? (2, Funny)

xgecko (583139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740394)

Isn't that supposed to be a bad thing?

Re:Sand? Cornerstone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740407)

it is a secret phallus.

Sand (0)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740423)

Ahhh sand, the building block of life...

Huh?

Re:Sand (1)

drlake (733308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740491)

I think it's a joke...

Amazing accuracy of the Step & Repeat Machines (1)

micksterama (827867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740469)

I picked this up on a visit to a Nikon factory in Japan where they make the Step & Repeat machines that make the chips and fabs as well as the precision testing equipment. To give you an idea of the optical precision required by the Step & Repeat machines that make the Fabs and chips consider this... The accuracy is equivalent to cutting all but 1 blade of grass on an entire football field to the exact same length... Prett amazing stuff.

Obv. Raising Arizona (2, Funny)

da3dAlus (20553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740487)

Ahhh sand, the building block of life...

[an old convict and H.I. lying on their prison bunks, passing the time]
Ear-Bending Cellmate : ...and when there was no meat, we ate fowl and when there was no fowl, we ate crawdad and when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand.
H.I. : You ate what?
Ear-Bending Cellmate : We ate sand.
[pause]
H.I. : You ate SAND?
Ear-Bending Cellmate : That's right!

What about die color? (2, Informative)

Fiz Ocelot (642698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740497)

I've seen a lot of cores and it seems that most of them are of a dull or silvery color; but some are more of a green/amber shiney look. So what explains that exactly? Nothing at all?

About a year ago I bought a couple xp 1700s that overclocked amazingly high, obviously a high quality processor set aside for selling in the lower end market. It also was the green/amber shiney color.

Krispy Kreme! (4, Funny)

Moos3d (824698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740500)

Now all Intel needs is stores where you can watch the chips being made. Like a Krispy Kreme!

Re:Krispy Kreme! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740548)

Yeah, especially if you get a freebie every now and then if you come in to watch.

Crystal Silicon Ingot (1, Funny)

JThundley (631154) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740557)

Did anybody else's butthole start to hurt when they saw the Crystal Silicon Ingot [sudhian.com] ?

This article was already done better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10740591)

After reading through the pages, I am reminded of that little sidebar in PCWorld magazine that describe the same thing but so much more so.....

Bad Journo by Slashdot (0, Troll)

maniac_inside (725792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740632)

This is stuff that even a stupid 1 year old kid in CS would/should know. That's just sloppy journalism. BTW I have a link about how to print Hello World in C. Would you /. it.

Much better article... (3, Informative)

taped2thedesk (614051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740648)

Here [embedded.com] is a slightly better written article on the same topic...

What's inside (1)

saned (736423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10740723)

Indeed a very impressive technology, getting better and faster by every geometry.
As a digital designer I can't help to point out that the man time invested in an ASIC these days is an order of magnitude of what it takes to build a single chip. TSMC can put a chip out in two weeks.
Of course I'm not taking in consideration the time taken to prepare the fab to be ready for first production, but when you and your team of 10 work tirelessly for a year, two weeks turnaround time always seems amazing.

-P@
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