Silicon Wafer with Switch on a Chip (SoC) Chips - 8 inch,200mm, Broadcom



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About this Artwork:

Made in 2001, this communications wafer is 8 inches in diameter. It has about 100 computer chips on it. These chips are Broadcom BCM5600 SoCs (System on a Chip) switch chips. System-on-a-Chip is the highest level of single-core processor integration. Broadcom referred to these as an Ethernet Switch on a Chip. The chip had over 60 million transistors and 1MB of SDRAM. It contained a 32-bit 133Mhz microprocessor. The microprocessor managed 24+2 ports. This was the first integration of 24 10/100 and 2 100/1000 ports, Layer2-Layer7 switching on a single chip. In 2001, at a price of $100 a chip, this wafer had a value of about $20,000, depending on the good chip yield of the wafer.

About Making Computer Chips:

Computer chips start as ordinary sand, which is silicon dioxide. The first step is to melt the sand in a furnace that reaches about 3200o F. The silicon is purified to create 99.9999% pure silicon. The silicon is broken up into chunks and melted in a crucible. A silicon crystal seed is dipped in molten silicon and slowly drawn out to create a cylinder of silicon. These silicon cylinders are some of the purest crystals on the planet. Once the silicon cylinder is grown to the desired diameter, it is sawed into wafers and polished to achieve a very flat mirror surface. Transistors, and other microelectronic parts, are built on the polished wafer in layers in a process called etching. The wafer is then sawed/diced into its individual chips. Each chip is mounted in an electronic package that protects it and connects it to the outside world. We essentially take a pile of sand and change it into thousands of dollars worth of computer chips.


The artwork is framed in an 11"x14" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.