On a previous poll, Tell Your IC Vendors What You Need, we asked about your selection process in general when you do a board redesign. That got us thinking about fine-tuning the poll to take a closer look at the needs that specifically drive your selection process.
If you do a board redesign — and if the opportunity is there to do some significant rework — how would you proceed? Some possible considerations relate to picking a device that is a lot newer so that obsolescence is not an issue. Perhaps shrinking PC board size, meaning figuring a way to put more analog functionality in a smaller area. Or maybe you just need improved performance due to market driven demands. Possibly it's just a matter of taking out some of the cost.
With that in mind, we asked, “When you do a board redesign and choose to use a new analog IC in place of one or multiple previous devices, what is the primary reason?” We got 53 responses to our “pick one” survey. The results look like this:
That last item in the list of choices, lower cost, drew a bit under one fifth of the respondents. Engineers like lower cost, but it's not foremost in mind or in their needs.
Of higher importance was the problem of obsolescence. Just over a quarter of the respondents said the reason was simply that the old (existing) device was going end of life (EOL), so they had no choice.
About one fifth of the respondents said they wanted to shrink the board size. This would imply that they want to gain a size advantage via increased integration of functions. Note that shrinking the board size generally will take some of the cost out, so even though that wasn't a priority, it's a pleasant result.
About 34 percent of the respondents said they were looking for improved performance. Sometimes, that just means a functionally equivalent part with better specs. But sometimes, as with shrinking board size, it means gaining a size advantage via increased integration of functions. If that's the case, over half of the respondents would be looking for a higher level of integrated analog.
So, while the survey didn't adhere to rigorous statistical guidelines, it does indicate continued interest in integrated analog parts. How does this match up with your experience?