Synengine 7-nanometer smart cockpit chip: one-time tape-out success

Recently, Sinorock’s 7nm automotive-grade smart cockpit high-performance SoC chip was successfully taped out. At present, the global automotive industry is suffering from a shortage of cores. From this crisis, it is not difficult to see that it is imperative to take the core technology of automotive chips into our own hands, and to meet existing needs and future automotive development trends. The successful tape-out of Synengine’s high-end automotive chips is undoubtedly exciting news for the Chinese automotive industry.

8.8 billion transistors, one-time lighting

Synengine has launched a new generation of high-performance smart cockpit SoC – “Dragon Eagle No. 1”, which is the first domestically produced 7nm process, and entered the automotive smart cockpit market strongly. With regard to the “Dragon Eagle No. 1” chip of Sinotech, the industry has paid a lot of attention to it, especially at the critical moment when the global automotive chips are out of stock and whether domestic chips can achieve breakthrough progress. The cusp of the storm still brings good news as scheduled.

At 3:36 pm ON October 28, the first domestic vehicle-grade 7-nanometer smart cockpit chip “Dragon Eagle No. 1” was successfully taped out and returned to Synengine. The chip with 8.8 billion transistors was turned on within 10 minutes after it arrived at the Shanghai Lab of Syntech, and it was successfully lit in less than 30 minutes! 24 hours of LPDDR5 full-speed work and main peripherals connected, 48 hours of multi-core operating system running stably. According to the actual measurement by the team, all parameters of the current chip meet the design standards.

“Dragon Eagle No. 1” has condensed the efforts of more than 300 engineers for more than two years, and created a record that the domestic team succeeded in the first tape-out of a 7-nanometer process vehicle-level ultra-large-scale SoC, which is enough to demonstrate the technical strength of core technology. .

“Dragon Eagle No. 1” adopts the industry-leading low-power 7-nanometer automotive-grade process, complies with the AEC-Q100 standard, and has a built-in ISO26262 ASIL-D “safety island” to meet automotive functional safety applications. This safety design mechanism is more It is suitable for the needs of domestic automotive functional safety. The biggest advantage of this chip is its high-performance, high-reliability, low-power, multi-core heterogeneous computing model SoC design, which integrates high-performance acceleration modules such as CPU, GPU, NPU, ISP, DSP, VPU, DPU, etc. The matching high-bandwidth low-latency LPDDR5 memory channel.

The chip has a built-in high-performance embedded AI neural network processing unit to provide more personalized intelligent voice, machine vision and assisted autonomous driving experience. A new generation of multi-core graphics processing units can dynamically allocate resources according to the load; one machine with multiple screens and multiple systems supports simultaneous output of multiple high-resolution and high refresh rate screens and powerful 3D rendering; built-in high-performance audio signal processing unit and rich The audio interface provides users with a rich and extraordinary audio and video entertainment experience; the professional hardware encryption and decryption engine provides information security for in-vehicle applications. At the same time, the chip provides rich high-speed communication interfaces and high-bandwidth large-capacity storage.

Today, the successful tape-out of the “Dragon Eagle No. 1” chip has also laid a solid foundation for mass production next year. It is reported that the “Dragon Eagle No. 1” smart cockpit chip of Sinorock has been favored by many domestic car companies and first-tier suppliers. Several mass-produced models are in the process of system design, and it is expected to complete the integration and testing of the vehicle in 2022.

At this stage, there is no domestic high-performance smart cockpit chip in the domestic market. The efforts of Syntech in this area will break the previous monopoly of international suppliers in this market, and fill the gap between my country’s self-designed high-end smart cockpit platform. Blank in the main chip field.

Why choose the 7nm process?

Nowadays, the mainstream automotive-grade chips are all blooming on 10+ nanometer semiconductor technology. “Dragon Eagle No. 1” is the first car-grade intelligent cockpit control chip based on the advanced 7-nanometer process in China. Why choose 7nm? Previously, Dr. Jiang Hanping, general manager of product planning and management of Sinorock, said at the “2021 Automotive Chip Technology Summit” that “7nm process is a must for high-performance smart cockpit automotive chips.”

In Dr. Jiang’s view, compared to 10+nm, the 7nm process node will bring significant advantages: First, the chip is more integrated. More logic gates can be placed on the wafer per unit area, and the packaging area is reduced, which saves the wafer cost and packaging cost, and further saves the area occupied by the finished chip on the single board, making the Electronic products of the same size function. More, faster. Second, the chip consumes less power. The logic circuit of the same size is made with a more advanced process, which will lead to lower power consumption, which will lead to lower power consumption. Lastly, it’s more responsive. The breaking speed of a single tube is faster, the same logic circuit can run at a higher frequency, and the performance is greatly improved.

Moreover, compared with the 10+nm node process, the average transistor density of 7nm is close to 100MTr/mm2, which is 3.3 times that of the 10+nm process, providing 35~40% speed improvement or 65% reduction in power consumption at the same power consumption. ; At the same time, 7nm can provide a higher proportion of dynamic power consumption (>90%) compared to 10+nm, so that the effective computing power of each computing unit (CPU, GPU, etc.) can be truly exerted, and static power consumption can be reduced at the same time. Reduce leakage effects and provide efficient thermal management. Therefore, for high-performance digital cockpit SoCs, the 7-nanometer automotive-grade process is a must. It is for this reason that most of the smart cockpits of the new models of car manufacturers at home and abroad have selected 7-nanometer SoC products.

However, the cost of 7-nanometer chip design and tape-out is very high, and the design is also very difficult. Many chip design companies that have made great achievements in 10+ nanometers are struggling on the 7-nanometer process node. However, Sinotech believes that this is their opportunity. The greater the difficulty, the more prominent the Matthew effect in the electronics industry, and the establishment of a moat in advanced design and technology.

For different processes, the work to be done in chip design is also different. For example, redundant circuits and backup design are all contents that need to be added in the chip design stage. These are issues that will only appear and be considered in advanced processes, and require long-term cooperation and accumulation. Only experience can complete the final mass production, there is no shortcut. It is understood that the technical team of Syntech has complete successful experience in developing tape-out and mass production on 10nm and more advanced processes, which undoubtedly provides a technical guarantee for the one-time tape-out success of its smart cockpit chip.

To achieve tape-out success, process and design must complement each other, and chip design companies and foundries must maintain a close cooperation model. There are various problems in between. For example: Is the low yield due to insufficient timing margins in the design or process fluctuations; poor performance is due to insufficient loop stability of the design, or wrong process parameter settings? The extraction of process parameters, the construction and modification of simulation models, and the comparison of parameters under different processes of the same chip are ultimately the result of joint efforts of the design company and the foundry.

Auto chip makers compete for advanced technology

In fact, in terms of process technology, consumer electronics products represented by mobile phones in the past were far ahead of automotive chips, but now everything is starting to change. Previously, NXP announced that it will cooperate with TSMC to adopt advanced processes in the next-generation high-performance automotive platform; later this year, Qualcomm released the fourth-generation advanced process Snapdragon automotive digital cockpit platform. A new battlefield in the field of automotive chip technology is already brewing! In this war, the smart cockpit chip is especially fierce. As the smart cockpit gradually becomes the standard configuration of new cars, a new market growth cycle is coming.

  Synengine 7-nanometer smart cockpit chip: one-time tape-out success

At present, the smart cockpit has become a new battlefield for players from all walks of life. Whether it is the new forces of car manufacturers and traditional car companies, they have taken the initiative to break the boundary, and have changed from passively accepting solutions provided by general chips and ecology to setting chip specifications in person. and production models. In the field of smart cockpits, there are traditional automotive chip manufacturers such as NXP, Renesas, NVIDIA, and Texas Instruments, as well as chip manufacturers entering the mobile phone market, such as Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, and MediaTek.

In terms of technology, Qualcomm is at the forefront. Since 2015, Qualcomm has entered the smart cockpit and autonomous driving market. Its 14nm Snapdragon 820A cockpit SoC has won many customers, and it has even become standard for many mid-to-high-end models in 2020. At the 2019 CES show, Qualcomm released the Snapdragon SA8155, the first automotive-grade digital cockpit SoC based on TSMC’s first-generation 7nm process. By January this year, Qualcomm released the 5-nanometer fourth-generation Snapdragon automotive digital cockpit platform, which is expected to be mass-produced in 2022.

In 2016, Samsung announced an $8 billion acquisition of U.S. auto technology maker Harman International Industries, Samsung’s largest all-cash acquisition, as a way to place itself at the heart of the auto technology market. In January 2019, Samsung launched the first automotive brand processor under Exynos, using an 8nm process.

It can be seen that in the smart cockpit chip market with advanced technology and high computing power of 7 nanometers and above, it is mainly monopolized by international giants such as Qualcomm and Nvidia. As a start-up company, Sinotech can be said to be at the forefront of advanced technology for smart cockpit chips. With the successful tape-out of the “Dragon Eagle No. 1” chip, it will greatly change the current situation of lack of high-end automotive chips in China, and drive the relevant industrial chain to support the development of the domestic automotive industry. In the field of smart cockpit chips, domestic automotive chip manufacturers represented by Sintech are expected to become a “new force” that cannot be ignored in the era of intelligent connected vehicles.


At present, the automobile industry is going through a major change in globalization. The Semiconductor supply chain of the automobile industry that has been standing for many years is no longer applicable, and automobile chip companies are participating more and more in the new smart automobile supply chain system. Standing at this time node, the tape-out of the 7-nanometer smart cockpit chip of Sinking Technology has been successful, and it has handed over the perfect answer sheet for the most advanced and only mass-produced 7-nanometer vehicle chip in China! Above the tuyere, domestic chip design companies should seize the opportunity of the industry as soon as possible, grasp the direction, develop key industries, solve the problem of chip “stuck neck”, and then narrow the gap with advanced countries.