What Is ASIC Design?

ASIC design is a methodology of cost and size reduction of an electronic circuit, product or system through miniaturization and integration of individual components and their functionality into a single element – an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).

An electronic product commonly consists of many integrated circuits (ICs) which are interconnected together to perform a particular function. For example a 1980’s smoke detector was built entirely of general purpose ICs, such as amplifiers, comparators, regulators and discrete components such as resistors and capacitors.

It was expensive (component cost and assembly cost) and bulky (all those components required space). As competition intensified, the requirement for lower cost and smaller size drove the need for consolidation and integration of all those individual components into a single ASIC, reducing not only overall cost and size of the smoke detector, but also improving its reliability (fewer parts, fewer things to go wrong).