August 22nd, 2019 – By: Ann Steffora Mutschler
The definition has changed, and so has the impact on the design process.
Spurred by the latest cyclical development boom, the semiconductor industry is entering a new golden era of custom processors, but this time ‘custom processor’ means something different.
A generation ago, every major semiconductor company had in-house processors: SuperH, PowerPC, V800, Alpha, MEP, Trimedia, etc., with some specialising more than others for particular domains. But industry consolidation and the enormous expense of maintaining proprietary architectures caused many of these to fade away, and the industry entered a long period of ‘Standard Architecture,’ while custom processors filled niches for applications like audio processing.