Thom finally resurfaces, with comments sure to be controversial, at least here ...

Started Apr 17, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP photoreddi Veteran Member • Posts: 7,973
Re: He says *all* camera's can use improvements to focus.

Brian Caslis wrote:

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

What does ASIC mean? He says it twice in his article. I haven't come across that before.


Application Specific Integrated Circuit. It's a custom designed chip. Cameras use them for processing the image after data comes off the sensor. Nikon calls their Exspeed. Canon calls their Digic. I think Fuji calls their EXR Processor.

Right, and if I recall correctly, early ASICs were very limited in what they could do, but the customized tasks that they were designed to do could be done much faster than standard CPUs that were more flexible and could do more things, but much more slowly, and ASICs also help to simplify designs while they can help to improve performance.

Quotes from the beginning of Wikipedia's "Application-specific integrated circuit" article. Much of the unquoted part is likely to be much harder to follow by non-techies.

An application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) /ˈeɪsɪk/, is an integrated circuit (IC) customized for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use. For example, a chip designed to run in a digital voice recorder or a high efficiency Bitcoin miner is an ASIC. Application-specific standard products (ASSPs) are intermediate between ASICs and industry standard integrated circuits like the 7400 or the 4000 series.

As feature sizes have shrunk and design tools improved over the years, the maximum complexity (and hence functionality) possible in an ASIC has grown from 5,000 gates to over 100 million. Modern ASICs often include entire microprocessors, memory blocks including ROM, RAM, EEPROM, flash memory and other large building blocks. Such an ASIC is often termed a SoC (system-on-chip). Designers of digital ASICs often use a hardware description language (HDL), such as Verilog or VHDL, to describe the functionality of ASICs.
The initial ASICs used gate array technology. Ferranti produced perhaps the first gate-array, the ULA (Uncommitted Logic Array), around 1980. An early successful commercial application was the ULA circuitry found in the 8-bit ZX81 and ZX Spectrum low-end personal computers, introduced in 1981 and 1982. These were used by Sinclair Research (UK) essentially as a low-cost I/O solution aimed at handling the computer's graphics. Some versions of ZX81/Timex Sinclair 1000 used just four chips (ULA, 2Kx8 RAM, 8Kx8 ROM, Z80A CPU) to implement an entire mass-market personal computer with built-in BASIC interpreter.

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