We love microchips

- That's why we boil them in acid.

March 20, 2015

Samsung SuperAMOLED : weekend die-shot

Updated March 20, 2015: Thanks to lucky(?) accident and new lens we managed to take much better photos of Samsung SuperAMOLED display:


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February 23, 2015

Nordic NRF24L01+ - real vs fake : weekend die-shot

Nordic NRF24L01+ (NRF24L01P) is a very popular 2.4Ghz transceiver used in countless consumer products. Not surprising that we've came across it's fake.

Genuine: This chip was extracted from "expensive" (~10$) RF module with additional RF amplifier chip:


Die size - 1876x1761 µm, 250nm technology.
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February 2, 2015

Reverse-engineering of KR580VM80A / i8080 is complete!

We are glad to announce that reverse engineering of KR580VM80A (the most popular CPU in the exUSSR, Intel 8080-compatible) is finally complete. Insane engineer Vslav (1801ВМ1@gmail.com) recovered full schematic in a very short time. After we got annotation and sorted out license (CC-BY-3.0) - it is available for everyone to enjoy.

It appeared that it had exactly 4758 transistors (contrary to rumors of 6000 or 4500).

Layout of KR580VM80A is quite similar though not identical to i8080, but there were no differing (vs i8080) opcodes identified.

Verilog model of KR580VM80A passed tough compatibility test both in simulation and as FPGA replacing actual KR580VM80A in "Specialist" computer.

Download links: Main verilog, Schematic, Full package.

Die annotation:
February 2, 2015

NXP 74AHC00 : Weekend die-shot

What is the simplest possible microchip? Probably it's 7400 - quad 2-input NAND gate. We made a die shot of NXP's 74AHC00 (AHC means "fast" CMOS). This is a nice example that 'old' tech nodes (1µm and older) are still in use. Also, note how many spare via are there.

Die size - 944x854 µm.



Update 02.02.2015: We redid this chip with better quality. Original photo (September 2, 2012). Looking at the quality difference gives me a warm feeling, 2.5 years well spent...
January 23, 2015

MC34063 : Weekend die-shot

MC34063 is by far the most widespread DC-DC switching regulator.



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January 8, 2015

Noname MMBT3904 - npn BJT transistor : weekend die-shot

On the first glance it looks very similar to NXP PMST3904, but topology is clearly redrawn. Notice sketchy borders of metalization - apparently they were using lift-off process for metalization instead of plasma etching. But for discrete transistors this might still be acceptable for good yield.

Die size 290x291 µm, which is slightly larger than NXP's one.