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Silicon Wave: Only The "Known Good Die"

SAN FRANCISCO - If only the "Good Die Young," do the "Known Good Die?" Well they do if they have anything to do with Bluetooth wireless technology.

Silicon Wave, Inc., which makes RF communication system components and software, Tuesday launched its most aggressive campaign with the debut of its new low-power, second-generation Bluetooth radio modems and baseband processors at the Bluetooth Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The San Diego-based company code named this one Known Good Die (KGD) after the small packaging process in which are die mounted directly on a multichip module or printed circuit board that have the same reliability and performance characteristics as packaged ICs.

Producing Known Good Die creates a testing challenge since standard equipment can only perform burn-in and final test after the die have been packaged.

But execs with Silicon Wave say the most important thing is that they have made the leap from first generation Bluetooth (getting it to work) to second generation (making it work well and with others).

"In response to customer's requirements for increased circuit densities, smaller product form factors and lower costs for total BOMs, we have diversified our offerings by expanding our second generation product line to include KGD," says Silicon Wave vice president of advanced products and applications Steve Brown.

In structuring their KGD Program, Silicon Wave has developed strong relationships with leading die test equipment manufacturers and test houses in order to provide a sub 16mm2 tested die. The radio modem die represents a 70 percent size reduction over the packaged part and the baseband die provides a 75 percent size reduction compared to its packaged part.

The company also announced its collaboration with Toshiba to bring Bluetooth technology to GSM mobile phones and the release of a low-power Bluetooth reference design kit for second-generation products

The company says its die products are available in both bumped and un-bumped versions and can be provided in wafer form or as dice in waffle packs. Volume production is slated for the middle of 2002.