With technological advancements emerging recently, people can greatly benefit from innovations through research, development, and utilization. To employ these technologies in productive work, one must know their basic building blocks.
Despite its differences in make, price, and purpose, every computer is made from the same key components–the processing and memory units designed into chips.
Chips: The Computer’s Brain
Without chips or integrated circuits, your desktop computer would be an entire room’s size. Essentially, your electronic devices have different chips assigned for several purposes.
To better understand computer chips, these are standard hardware components found on most electronic products today:
- Central Processing Unit (CPU): The CPU is the main chip that issues instructions to other computing components.
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The graphics card is responsible for processing graphics for screen output. They also help distribute problems into smaller tasks for output efficiency.
- Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA): Now, FPGA and the next chip are two components gaining popularity in the tech world. FPGAs are silicon-based semi-conductors that are programmable and reprogrammable.
Lastly is the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), which will be thoroughly discussed in this article; learn more about ASIC chips, the benefits of using them, and their unique uses and applications.
What Are ASIC Chips?
ASICs are engineered silicon chips with a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design, where numerous circuits are combined into one chip. ASIC chips are programmed for one logic, permanent function, and can’t be reprogrammed.
Compared to CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs, ASIC chips are ideal for performing operations involving mass production as it can efficiently perform the primary task at hand. With its SoC design, the machine or device where the ASIC chip is implanted will have cheaper operational costs.
Since ASICs are customized according to the computer’s needs and functions, every ASIC project is handled by an ASIC development engineer. These professionals develop electronic products integrated with ASICs for consumer use to achieve the right size and price.
While ASICs are time-consuming, expensive, and complex to create, integrating them into your computer will give the following benefits:
- High performance but low power consumption
- Depending on the device’s design, it’ll allow full customizability
- Smaller form factor
- Higher potential clock speeds
Uses and Applications of ASICs
Upon learning ASIC’s concept, how can an engineer utilize this microchip’s properties and capabilities in technological applications? Here are the most useful technologies fueled by ASIC chips:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Initially, experts utilize FPGAs for artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and machine learning, but it’s challenging to find experts who specialize in FPGA programming than an ASIC.
ASIC chips can be a better replacement for FPGA in testing and training AI algorithms and machine learning procedures, and ASICs can even work faster than FPGAs. Currently, Google demonstrated their interest in ASICs as they generated the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), specifically optimized for machine learning, AI, and deep learning.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Businesses have witnessed the significance of the internet of things (IoT) for the past years. Realizing this potential, the IoT ecosystem has transformed with more demands to shift away from off-the-shelf chip configurations to custom-built ones.
Instead of incorporating stock components into devices, companies can have their IoT devices designed to enhance functionality, efficiency, and design flexibility. Also, IoT can be combined with blockchain for more innovative business models.
The Future of ASICs: Bottom Line
Thanks to the numerous benefits of integrating ASICs to various technological applications, more and more companies are looking into using ASIC as the foundation of their new solutions.
However, companies must carefully deliberate the potential merits and ramifications of using this chip since the future is still uncertain to possess operations that require single functions and purposes.