Chip Systems

A chip system, or a system on a chip (SOC), is an integrated circuit that places all of the various components of an electronic system or computer system into just one chip. You will find these most often in embedded systems. Some of the systems will run only a single system, while others are capable of running something that’s quite a bit more complicated, such as a desktop computer.

Who Produces Chip Systems?

You will find a number of different companies out there today that are manufacturing chip systems. The following are some of the companies offering the chip systems.

  • Cypress Semiconductor: Cypress has been creating some of the best, high performance options when it comes to SOCs. They have various programmable solutions, USB controllers, and much more. They’ve been in business a number of years and are an innovative company.
  • Intel: Intel is one of the most well known companies in the world today, and you will find that there is a very good chance that the computer you are on right now is using an Intel chip. The company has been in business since 1968, and they were actually able to introduce the first microprocessor in the world just three years later. Today, they make some of the best chip systems in the world.
  • NXP: NXP is another company that is able to provide high quality chip systems, as well as a number of other solutions for computer needs, industrial needs, wireless infrastructure, and much more. They have operations in more than 25 countries today.
  • Renesas Electronics: In 2010, NEC Electronics and Renesas Electronics merged. They are a manufacturer of semiconductors and chip systems, and have a number of different products that are able to work with many different applications and in different industries including medical and healthcare, computing, energy, and more.
  • Texas Instruments: One of the most well known companies in the country, Texas Instruments has been around for more than 80 years. They create an array of products including semiconductors and chips that are useful within computers, the automotive industry, space and avionics, the healthcare field, and much more.

While these are not the only companies out there producing chip systems today, they are certainly some of the brand names most known throughout a variety of different fields. You always want to make sure that you are choosing only the highest quality systems for your devices.

What Processing Units do Chip Systems Have?

The different types of processing units used in the chip systems can vary quite a bit, and is often based on the use and the complexity of the device. With a microcontroller, you are generally going to be working with a system that has a very small amount of RAM, and they will generally have just a single chip that controls a limited function. However, some microcontrollers are going to have more peripherals on a single chip. The chip system could also use a microprocessor, which is more common when dealing with systems that are a bit more complex. In some cases, if there is more than a single processor core, you will find that the SOC is actually called a multiprocessor SOC.

What Applications Use Chip Systems?

You are going to find quite a few different types of applications utilizing chip systems today, and some of the biggest reasons for this are simplicity, quality, and size. Today, it is possible to use these systems to control a host of different devices and in different fields. They are generally going to have designs that use less power, and that means a lower cost. Because they have to have fewer of these systems in a package, it can even reduce the assembly cost of devices. The following are some of the applications where these are in use today.

  • Bluetooth makes use of these chip systems because of the low energy usage and the low cost. High quality chip systems will allow for programmable flash memory, great RF performance, and a small physical size. This small size helps to get the chips into smaller and smaller devices that need to utilize Bluetooth.
  • Capacitive Sensing devices are also making use of these single chip systems. The capacitive sensing devices, of contactless switches, need to have a small chip that is going to be able to handle the information from the touch sensitive devices, and a quality chip system that can simplify things can make it much easier. Some of the devices that are using this type of technology today include notebooks and handsets. You can also find them in the medical and industrial fields.
  • Embedded systems often make great use of these types of chip systems. The embedded system is a computer system that will be able to control various functions within a greater or larger system. They use the chip systems to control those different functions. You are often going to find these in electronics, such as personal computer systems.
  • IEEE 802.15.4, the basis for ZigBee is a wireless standard for media access control for LP-WPANs. Many devices that utilize this standard utilize these chip systems.
  • ZigBee is a name for communication protocols that you will find in the use of digital radios. Some of the applications of ZigBee include use in wireless light switches, traffic management, and electrical meters that offer displays in the home.
  • LED lighting systems are popular today, and you will find that many of the systems out there are utilizing SOC. This makes controlling the system easier, and it is possible to use it in many more instances and applications.

The above are just some of the many different applications where you will find these types of chip systems in use today. As they are becoming more commonplace and the quality is getting higher, chances are that you are going to start seeing them in more and more locations and devices.

What Technologies of Chip Systems Exist?

You can find a number of different and impressive chips system technologies that are out there on the market today. The following are some that you are sure to start seeing more of in the future, as well as some that are already commonplace.

  • Atom, from Intel is the brand name of a type of microprocessors. They are popular because they are low voltage, and they are not going to take up a substantial amount of power. You will find these in use in a number of different capacities, most commonly with netbooks. They are popular in mobile Internet devices, as well as robotics today, and they seem to be getting more popular all the time. Intel recently came out with an updated version of the Atom to use in servers, and they are already promising another updated version in the coming year.
  • CMOS, or complementary metal oxide semiconductor is a type of technology found in a variety of integrated circuits. You will find these used with chip systems using microprocessors and microcontrollers. One of the benefits of CMOS is the fact that it does not waste power, which has been a problem with some of the other solutions used in the past. Most often, you will find CMOS in digital applications. However, it is also possible to use them in certain analog applications.
  • 16 bit RISC processors can actually have a higher performance than some of the 32-bit processors that are out there today, as long as you choose the right one. They are able to offer more speed, lower power consumption, and ease of use for many different types of applications.

What Mounting Types Exist for Chip Systems?

The chip systems that you need are likely going to have special mounting, and you will find quite a few different options for that today. The following are the most common surface mount types that you will find.

  • CGA, or column grid array
  • CERPAC, which is a ceramic mounting package
  • CCGA, which is a ceramic column grid array
  • LLP, or leadless lead frame
  • LTCC, or low temperature co-fired ceramic
  • LGA, or land grid array
  • MCM, or multichip module

What Package Types Exist?

Circuits and systems often need to have protective coverings or packages that will make it easy and safe to handle them without causing any damage. Many different types of packages exist for this express purpose. The following are some of the most common types of packages used for SOC today. Keep in mind that the different types of chips and the different numbers of pins will often determine the type of package used.

  • Single in line package
  • Dual in line package
  • Ceramic
  • Molded
  • Plastic
  • Bump chip carrier
  • Leadless chip carrier
  • Leaded chip carrier
  • Leaded ceramic chip carrier
  • Flat packages
  • Small outline packages
  • Chips scale packages
  • Small pin count packages
  • And more

For all of the different types of chips and the different applications and circuits used, you will find that they may need to have different packages for the safety of the device.

What is the Pin Count of Chip Systems?

Different types of chips are going to have different amounts of pins in them, naturally. The pins are going to be numbered counterclockwise in the chip. This is the same way that the pins are numbered no matter the size of the chip. The pins are going to be the number of places that the chip connects with the circuit board. Those that are larger and that have more pins are generally going to be more complex, but it often depends upon the device.

What does MAXIMUM OPERATING SUPPLY VOLTAGE Mean?

This is the highest amount of voltage that is going to be able to go through the chip system without causing any damage to it. When you are choosing a system to use in your device, you have to make sure that you are not going to be exceeding the voltage; otherwise, it could cause damage.

What does MAXIMUM OPERATING TEMPERATURE Mean?

Similar to the max operating voltage, you also have to be careful about the temperature that the device gets. You have to know the highest temperatures that the chip system is going to be able to withstand and make sure that you are not trying to use it in a circuit or device that could become too warm. If it does, it could cause the device to stop working.

What does MINIMUM OPERATING SUPPLY VOLTAGE Mean?

Just as you have to worry about the maximum voltage, you also want to make sure that you know what the lowest amount of voltage going through the device is going to be. For devices that have only a small amount of voltage going through them, it’s important to choose a chip system that’s going to be able to operate on the lower voltage and still work properly.

What does MINIMUM OPERATING TEMPERATURE Mean?

If you are going to be using the device in areas where the temperature is very low, such as outside in the winter, or in a freezer, as you might find in some labs and other industries, you have to make sure that the chip is still going to work. What is the lowest temperature at which the chip system can function? Knowing this will ensure that you are able to have a system and device that works in your environment.

Keep in mind that different SOCs and chipsets are going to work for different industries better than others will. When you are looking for something that is going to work in your field or industry, you should check to see what your options are and what others have used who were in your position. Having professional help in choosing the right chip system is always a good idea, as the wrong chip system could cause quite a few issues for you.

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