Decapping the AD9361 SDR Transceiver Chip: Hi-Res Images and Cost Analysis
The AD9361 is a highly versatile full transceiver SDR chip released by Analog Devices back in 2013. With a frequency range from 70 MHz - 6 GHz, 56 MHz bandwidth and 12-bit ADC, it is most commonly found in high end SDRs such as the USRP range and PicoZed. On Digikey purchasing the chip today would set you back about USD $280. A cheaper but similar AD9363 chip is found in the PlutoSDR.
If you are unaware, decapping is the process of removing the outer shell on silicon chips with acid, and revealing their silicon structure. Over on the 'Zeptobars' decapping blog the author has recently shared some beautiful and extremely hi-res (80 mB) photos of a decapped AD9361.
At the end of the post the author does a brief cost analysis on the chip, determining that while the total manufacturing cost of the chip is estimated at less than $5, the cost of R&D and IP per chip is about $33, and additional costs make up another $32 per chip. Profit between distributors and Analog Devices is about even, which each party taking about $100 per chip each.
If you're interested, in the past we've also seen decapped images of the the R820T and the RTL2832U from 'electronupdate'.
Nice to know they are making money hand over fist with these. What a wonderful 400% markup.
Next hack rf?
This is fairly good news, this means the MSRP of the chip could be very flexible with competition, other more advanced parts and to strike deals with OEMs to produce lower cost products