Switch Mode

With the Time Shop, I Too Am the Greatest Conglomerate of All Time Chapter 39

Episode 39. semiconductor design. (1)

“It’s a new product.. What kind of product are you thinking of?”

The second mega-hit by Wainau, the maker of future MP3 players.

It was planned to introduce an MP3 player with a design that is also called the Craft series because it looks like a submarine.

“I will change the design for now.”

President Kim’s face darkened as he remembered the troubles he had in the past.


“yes. The element that can easily win the hearts of consumers is design. Please call the development team. A detailed explanation will be given at that time.”

The faces of the development team members who were convened after a while were not much different from that of President Kim.

“Fufu. It seems that everyone is already worried.”

“As expected, the next few months will be challenging. However, if the development of this new product is successfully completed, we will guarantee you a 100% performance pay.”

With those words, the faces of the development team members improved a little.

My next words changed to a face full of motivation.

“And let me tell you in advance that the standard for performance-based pay is the annual salary, not the monthly salary.”

The development team leader asked.

“How can I determine the direction of development?”

I explained by drawing on the white board in front of me.

“The approximate shape is a triangular prism similar to the previous one. However, it will go into a structure that is concave in the middle and tapered at both edges. I’m going to streamline the edges so they don’t feel sharp but narrow. So the overall shape will look like a submarine.”

“Then are you going to leave the function as it is?”

“no. Two major changes are required. The first will go with two models rather than a single model like the P-32. The second is to make it a firmware upgradeable structure.”

Firmware is a kind of operating system that makes the product usable.

In simple terms, it is a program that acts as the Windows of the computer.

For products with limited functions, the firmware program was simple and the capacity was not large.

As this firmware storage location, it cannot be erased once written, but a cheap ROM (Read Only Memory) chip was used.

For reference, a flash memory that can be erased and written multiple times is used instead of expensive for storing large MP3 files.

“Two models?”

“yes. The previous P-32 was a single model with 32MB of memory, but this new model will come in two versions: a 32MB version and a 64MB version.”

“If you use 64MB flash memory, the product price will go up quite a bit, but is it competitive?”

“It’s been over a year since we started selling our MP3 players. By now, there will be quite a few consumers who feel frustrated with the memory capacity that only takes about 7 or 8 songs.”

I asked Mr. Kim.

“Chief Kim. Are some of the competitor products already available in 64MB models?”

“yes. Not many yet.”

“It means that some of our competitors have already caught the attention of consumers. We still have over 50% domestic market share, but if we stay still, we will catch up in an instant.”

“..I see what you mean.”

The development team leader asked me.

“Does the firmware upgradeable structure mean that the firmware chip can be easily replaced?”

When a functional problem occurs or you want to improve the product function.

The easiest and least expensive way was to replace the firmware.

ROM is memory that cannot be erased once written, so upgrading the firmware usually meant replacing the chip itself.

“no. What I meant was not to replace the firmware chip, but to create a structure that could modify the firmware without replacing the chip.”

“You are talking about making a chip that can be used and erased.”

The development team leader thought about it for a while and then asked me.

“In order to do that, the existing ROM chip will have to be erased several times and replaced with a writable flash memory, which will increase the product cost again. Would it be okay?”

“yes. The price of the product will go up, but consumers will think it’s worth it. If you receive the firmware upgrade service, you will be able to feel how good our after-sales service policy is.”

“..But can’t you feel it only after you buy it? I’m worried that the price will make them reluctant to buy it in the first place.”

“haha. You don’t have to worry about that. With the larger memory capacity and the attractively redesigned design, you can’t go wrong just because it’s expensive.”

“..okay. Let’s take the development direction in the direction you mentioned. ”

It is a product that has already been verified in the future.

There was no possibility of going wrong.

“haha. I’m worried about selling. You just have to think about how to make the best product. Did you all understand my intentions?”

All members of the development team nodded their heads.

“Then let’s get started. We look forward to seeing some great products. Whoops.”

I was acutely realizing how absurd the plan I had at the beginning of the year to make a semiconductor by myself.

I worked for Hwansung Electronics Semiconductor Division for 8 years.

However, he did not know everything about the semiconductor manufacturing process.

Although there was knowledge of how the semiconductor of the future would be made.

It was literally just knowledge.

There were many deficiencies in practical application.

Realizing that I can’t be alone,

We decided to find the right collaborator and work together.

Seoul National University College of Engineering.

I knocked on the door with the nameplate Professor Han Seong-wook on it.

“Come on in.”

When I opened the door and entered, I saw the face of a man who might have just turned 40.

“hello. professor.”

“Come on. Semiconductor genius. What else are you curious about?”

Professor Seongwook Han.

Professor in charge of the semiconductor device laboratory at Seoul National University College of Engineering.

He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. and was appointed as a professor at Seoul National University in his late 30s.

At first, he treated me with a very business-like attitude.

We pretended to be crazy and visited whenever we had time, and now we’re pretty comfortable with each other.

“I am not here to ask you about the theory. professor. Do you know anyone who works in a semiconductor fabless company?”


It is a compound word of ‘Fabrication+less’ and refers to a company that sells licenses only by designing, not directly producing.

There were still a lot of things that were not enough to make commercial semiconductors on their own.

First of all, I was thinking of doing semiconductor design properly.

“Why fabless companies?”

“I have some ideas. I want to try to commercialize it, but I think it will be difficult by myself.”

“Well. I know you’re an outstanding student, but you’re still a freshman. Why don’t you study a little more and give it a try if you’re still convinced?”

In the field where many doctors from prestigious universities around the world gather and wage a war on semiconductor technology.

It means that a freshman in undergraduate school declared that he would dare to intervene, so if his position had changed, I think I would have said the same.

Then, I need to get help from the professor, so should I show my skills a little?

I presented the drawing I brought to a professor.

“I was thinking about it a while ago, the microarchitecture of system semiconductors.”

Semiconductors are largely divided into system semiconductors and memory semiconductors.

On the other hand, the system semiconductor interprets or calculates the commands given by the user like the CPU (Central Processing Unit).

Memory semiconductors simply serve as storage for storing information.

And microarchitecture is a kind of blueprint that shows how the CPU works.

Although system semiconductors account for more than 70% of total semiconductors, the proportion is large.

Because high technology was required, even at this time, the domestic electronics industry, including Hwanhung Electronics, a strong player in memory semiconductors, did not have much influence in this field.

Of course, in the 2000s, Hwansung Electronics also invested a huge amount of money to foster system semiconductors.

Not yet.

In my previous life, I worked in that system semiconductor division.

Thanks to that, I had quite a bit of knowledge about system semiconductors.

“..is this a RISC-based architecture?”

There are two major system semiconductor architectures.

One is CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) and RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer).

The CISC method is easy to program with many instructions, but consumes a lot of power.

Conversely, the RISC method is difficult to program due to its simple instructions, but consumes less power.

Since smartphones have not yet appeared, power consumption was not a very important part of CPU performance.

The CISC method, which is easy to use, was the mainstream for computer CPUs.

“It’s special. There aren’t many companies that use RISC these days. Even though PRM is famous, its market share is very low compared to CISC companies.”

PRM is a system semiconductor design company headquartered in the UK.

It doesn’t have a lot of presence right now.

The AP (Mobile Application Processor), which plays the role of the brain of future smartphones due to its excellent technology for reducing power consumption, is almost impossible to find products that do not use this company’s technology.

PRM grows into a large company with a market capitalization of over 30 trillion won.

The architecture I brought was the new architecture that PRM announced in 2002.

Hwanhung also used that architecture, so I was well aware of the related content.

“If the performance is similar, of course I would use CISC, but I think this architecture I made will have a competitive edge because it has better performance than the CISC architectures that have come out these days.”

“okay? So, let’s take a look at the contents first, and then we’ll talk again.”

A professor moaned as he looked at my drawing.

“Well. It has eight pipelines.”

A CPU is made up of countless semiconductor elements that are invisible to the naked eye.

The pipeline is what these semiconductor devices are supposed to do.

In other words, the fact that there are eight pipelines means that semiconductor devices are divided into groups that do eight kinds of work.

It’s kind of like a division of labor.

In general, the higher the number of pipelines, the faster the CPU becomes.

“Did you know that the architecture of the PRM that is out now is five pipelines?”

“Did you know that when there are eight pipelines, the power consumption increases by that much? And we usually know that as the pipeline increases, the speed increases, but there is no guarantee that it will be.”

“RISC itself consumes much less power than CISC. Even if the power consumption increases from 5 to 8 pipelines, it is a level that can be tolerated. There are ways to speed things up.”

“Is there any way to speed it up?”

“yes. There are two main cases where an increase in pipeline does not increase speed. That’s when the CPU gets too hot and the performance goes down, or when there’s a pipeline that doesn’t do any work in the pipeline.”

“With this architecture, there will be very few thermal issues. We also added a prediction system that predicts when the pipeline will play and eliminates those cases.”

That prediction system was the heart of the architecture I brought.

Give a professor a note describing the prediction system.

He looked at his notes and thought.

As he returned the notebook, a professor showed a laugh that was ridiculous.

“Ha..really..not kidding.”

what. Did I do anything wrong?

“..any problem?”

“..the problem is that there is no problem. You mean you were taking undergraduate classes with these skills?”

With the Time Shop, I Too Am the Greatest Conglomerate of All Time

With the Time Shop, I Too Am the Greatest Conglomerate of All Time

시간 상점으로 나도 역대급 재벌
Score 7.0
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2020 Native Language: Korean
By SerenPanda What did you just say? Selling time?


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x


not work with dark mode