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Cadence Cosmic Circuits Acquisition – Analog/Mixed Signal IP for Advanced Node SoCs

Comments(0)Filed under: Industry Insights, SoC, AMS, TSMC, analog/mixed-signal, 20nm, Cadence, analog IP, PCI Express, India, PCIe, MIPI, USB, PHY IP, FinFET, D-PHY, DPHY, M-PHY, MPHY, Cosmic Circuits

Last week (Feb. 7, 2013) Cadence announced an agreement to acquire Cosmic Circuits Private Limited, a leading provider of analog/mixed-signal IP based in Bangalore, India. Here's some background on this relatively young, fast-growing company, and how its offerings fit into the growing Cadence design IP offering.

Cadence thus far has focused on high-value, differentiated IP for memory, storage, and high performance interfaces. Cadence does have some analog/mixed-signal IP, such as SerDes, but Cosmic Circuits will greatly expand the analog/mixed-signal part of the Cadence portfolio. As described on Cosmic Circuit's informative web site, the company offers silicon-proven cores for D/A and A/D converters, wireless AFE (analog front end), power management, clocking, audio, and auxiliary functions. Cosmic Circuits also offers standards-based PHYs (physical layer IP) in such areas as MIPI, USB, and PCI Express. These will strengthen the Cadence interface IP portfolio.

What's more, Cosmic Circuits has offerings at the 40nm and 28nm process nodes, with work on 20nm and FinFET technologies well underway. This is a crucial point. Virtually all SoCs these days contain some analog/mixed-signal IP, and the availability of this IP is a crucial enabler for advanced process nodes.

Cadence and Cosmic Circuits have complementary market strengths. While Cosmic Circuits has focused on low-power mobile and time-to-market critical consumer markets, Cadence is strong in high-speed serial IP for cloud and server applications. Combining these strengths will provide a broader market for Cadence design IP. At the product level, the acquisition opens the door to an increased number of integrated, tested controller-plus-PHY solutions.

A Fast-Moving Company

Cosmic Circuits has come very far very quickly in a crowded marketplace. Founded in 2005, the company now offers over 500 different cores. Over 50 million ICs containing Cosmic Circuits IP shipped in 2012. The company has over 75 customers, and you can read some of their rave reviews here. The company partners with leading foundries worldwide, including TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, UMC, Fujitsu, NEC and SMIC. Cosmic Circuits is a two-time winner (2010 and 2012) of TSMC's Analog/Mixed-Signal IP Partner of the Year award.

One area in which Cosmic Circuits has strong expertise is MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface). The company provides silicon-proven solutions for both D-PHY and M-PHY. While the D-PHY standard supports data rates up to 1 Gb/second, with increased speed through a multi-layer approach, the more recent M-PHY supports data rates up to 5 Gb/second and consumes very low power. In November 2012, Cosmic Circuits announced the availability of silicon-proven MIPI M-PHY cores in multiple 28nm technologies.

In addition to IP, Cosmic Circuits has an IC and Systems business. As part of the transaction, this activity will be spun off into a separate new company. The Cadence acquisition is expected to close in 30 to 60 days.

I like Cosmic Circuit's slogan, "Analog with Certainty." I think it captures some of the spirit of this up-and-coming company. With certainty, the acquisition seems like a good match for Cadence, Cosmic Circuits, and present and future customers.

Richard Goering

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