eSilicon engages with customers in many different ways, from providing a full menu of design services down to simply manufacturing parts. Increasingly, they have been automating a lot of this on their website. It started with automatic quotes for MPW shuttles and more recently they have a full production quote system for parts that will be manufactured by TSMC. Presumably more foundries will come.
eSilicon also provide IP, primarily memories and specialized I/Os. They have two development groups in Vietnam (in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang) where most of this work is done. They have now started to put their IP portfolio online too, allowing customers to serve themselves. This first version of what they have named IP Marketplace is available now, allows you to try IP before you buy it, and the second version which should be available in March next year, will also allow the actual procurement to be done online too.
The current version allows you to find out power, performance and area (PPA) for any item of IP. This can be displayed graphically, in a table, or downloaded to Excel. The system supports all eSilicon developed IP (in the future 3rd party IP will also be available) including memory compilers, standard and specialty I/Os and across multiple foundries, currently TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Dongbu and LFoundry at a range of different process nodes. You only need to pay for the IP when the chip tapes out.
The marketplace makes it easy to compare PPA across different potential process nodes at different foundries, and also try different configurations of memories at different operating points (PVT). See the diagram above. You can download a complete chip memory subsystem for free, giving you the full capability to “try before you buy” and without needing to have eSilicon personnel in the loop slowing the process down. But it is not just the specification data that is free to download, you can get all the front-end views to actually do the design (or do an even more detailed analysis). You purchase the layout (GDS II) only when you are ready to tapeout and, of course, only for the IP blocks that you actually ended up using.
If you are using TSMC, you can now get all the IP you need and get a legally binding prototype and production quote, all online. All you have to do is actually design the chip!
eSilicon’s IP Marketplace page is here, where you can find out more, login or create a new account.