[lowrisc-dev] Suggestion: Chip production

Alex Bradbury asb at asbradbury.org
Tue Dec 1 10:23:18 GMT 2015

On 30 November 2015 at 17:10, Cristoffel Gehring <cristoffel at durga.ch> wrote:
> Dear lowRISC team
> We are a brand-new startup based in Shenzhen.
> Our goal is to produce free and open source hardware.
> Since we all share the enthusiasm for open source products, we were
> enlightened to learn about your project.
> We are very interested in a collaboration with our organization.
> For example, we could take over the production of your first chip.
> Right now, we are looking for an inexpensive chip manufacturer here in
> Shenzhen.
> Because we have access to the local manufacturing lines here in main land
> China (thanks to the relations of friends who happen to be locals), we can
> beat down the prices for the production of a prototype series enormously.
> And we are confident that we can produce 100-200k chips for around 5$ each.
> It's also possible for us to produce smaller amounts of chips because we can
> share mask space with other engineers here.
> So we could help you save money as well.
> This would be interesting for you I guess, since it's a waste of time and
> material (silicon) to produce 100k chips only to find out that you had an
> unspotted hazard in your transistor layout somewhere.
> With only a dozens of the chips it hurts less :-)

There's definitely an interesting space between the small quantities
(~100) you can get from an MPW and the hundreds of thousands of chips
you'd get back for a minimum wafer order of 25.

> If you are interested into a cooperation with our start-up it would be very
> helpfull for finding a suitable manufacturer if I knew whether you've already
> finished the litographic masks and if yes, in which format and with which tool
> (e.g. qflow?)
> Otherwise I could assist you with this as well.

The initial test chip is targeted for some time next year. We are not
yet RTL-complete.

Perhaps you'd like to email me at asb at lowrisc.org and Rob at
rmullins at lowrisc.org to discuss off-list.


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