The Market for IP Cores

October 30, 2019 Koyel Ghosh, Allied Analytics

There’s been a significant development in silicon manufacturing technology in the last few years. Unfortunately, the efficiency of engineering teams to create and map out circuits hasn’t kept pace. This disparity, in turn, has given rise the IP core industry. Assimilating pre-made slabs that don’t entail any strategical work or authentication, IP cores let design teams rapidly form large SoCs. At the same time, several difficult challenges come with this new design style. And based on the core, they can be abated or intensified.

However, initially, IP cores are delivered to clients in one of the two forms: hard or soft. In both the scenarios, the user gets a functionally tested design. A synthesizable core, often referred as soft core, is synchronized by the client and instigated in its SoC. On the other hand, a hard core is entirely contrived and ready to work.

When developing the SoC, the design team receives a verified design which, in turn, lets them complete their chip in less time with fewer resources on board. Nevertheless, fitting in a core involves many steps and relies on the output provided. Hence, tools that simplify this process are always welcome.

Proper assessment of IP blocks can hasten the design. However, even though “assessment time” is often regarded as an unnecessary or gratuitous overhead that can affect the profit margin, it really is a worthwhile approach. Choosing on the wrong IP solution can lead to design rework and serious delays.

At the same time, while estimating the purchase of IP, it’s imperative to understand that IP is usually not a unified plug-in solution. That why IP provider design support skill is key. Along with encumbering the patience of the development team, marginal support also exerts influence on the product cost and development schedule. Last but not the least; the quality and quantity of the design documentation is crucial, as well as all indemnities and guarantees delivered with the IP. Detailed, in-depth, precise, systematized and comprehensible documents are essential.

According to Allied Market Research, the global semiconductor IP market is expected to grow at a significant CAGR from 2018 to 2024. Increase in demand for the modern SoC design and drop in its manufacturing and design cost drive the market’s growth. On the other hand, certain fluxes and oscillations in the evolution of the chips are expected to curb the growth to some extent. Nevertheless, the high-end technological developments on board have almost modulated the restraining factors and created several opportunities in the near future.

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