September 15, 2013

NXP 74HC595 : weekend die-shot

NXP 74HC595 - yet another standard logic shift register. You may compare it to Fairchild 74VHC595 and OnSemi 74HC595.

Die size 953x866 µm, 2µm manufacturing technology.

Polysilicon level:

September 14, 2013

Fairchild 74VHC595 : weekend die-shot

Fairchild 74VHC595 - standard logic chip, 8-bit shift register. You can compare it to OnSemi 74HC595.

Die size 800x690 µm. 800nm manufacturing technology.

Polysilicon level:

September 13, 2013

TNY264 : weekend die-shot

Power Integrations TNY264 - is a highly integrated ACDC converter with built-in 700V MOSFET.
Die size 2457x1306 µm.

August 26, 2013

Zilog Z80 Z0840004PSC : weekend die-shot

After taking photos of Z80-compatible CPU's from DDR and USSR we finally got the original Zilog's Z80. This chip had datecode 9012.

If you compare the dies of original Z80 and DDR/USSR ones - you can see that original Z80 has much denser peripherals layout. Also, in the middle of the die there is a word "DC", while on compatible processors there is just a blank space at the same place.

Die size 3545x3350 µm. It's area is 1.6 times smaller than T34VM1.

August 25, 2013

Altera Cyclone EP1C3 : weekend die-shot

Altera Cyclone EP1C3 is the smallest 1-st generation FPGA from Altera. It has 2910 LE, 1 PLL and 58.5 kibibit of memory (13 M4K blocks, 128x36 bit each).

On the polysilicon level we can see that each M4K block is subdivided into 2 halves (26 "rectangles" total in 2 columns). Array of logical elements is non-symmetrical, on the right side of the array right in the middle there is an PLL.

Half of die area is occupied by peripherals, which is not surprising given all the variety of supported IO standards.

August 12, 2013

T34VM1 - soviet Z80: weekend die-shot

T34VM1 is Z80-compatible processor manufactured in Soviet Union / Russia by Angstrem in 1991 and probably later.
Die size 4513x4251 µm.

Marking on the die "U880/5" suggests that it was likely manufactured from mask set received from east Germany company VEB Mikroelektronik "Karl Marx" in Erfurt (MME).

We also made photo of ceramic package itself as it's quite rare chip:

"ОП" marking on the ceramic package means "experimental batch".
August 11, 2013

ULN2003 - practical example of «reading» microchip schematic

We often receive comments that while our microchip photos are beautiful and interesting, it is completely unclear how integrated circuit implements basic elements and form larger circuit. Of course it is impossible to do a detailed review of an 1'000'000 transistor chip, so we've found simpler example: ULN2003 - array of Darlington transistors.

Despite it's simplicity this microchip is still widely used and mass manufactured. ULN2003 contains 21 resistors, 14 BJT transistors and 7 diodes. It is used to control relatively high load (up to 50V/0.5A) from microcontroller pin. Canonical use case - controlling segments of large 7-segment LED displays.
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