White Paper: 3D Convergence of Multi-board PCB and IC Packaging Design

Next Generation Product-centric Design Principles

White Paper

Traditional 2D PCB-centric design processes are constraining today’s highly competitive product development processes. As products become smaller, faster, lighter with more complex shapes the development process must evolve to accommodate a product-centric perspective.

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The electronic product design process is being challenged like never before, with the need to develop feature-rich, light, compact products at a lower cost in less time. To address these challenges, designers are combining chips and boards in new configurations such as complex 3D stacked structures, or new packaging technologies such as Package-on-Package (PoP) and System in Package (SiP). They are also embedding passive and active components on inner layers, inside cavities and within the dielectric of the board stack-up.

Traditional 2D printed circuit board (PCB) design systems are used to design one PCB at a time in isolation from the other PCBs within a product, and also in isolation from the ICs, packages and enclosure. Validating connections between the PCBs, collision checking the boards to the enclosure, and reducing interconnection distance to the ICs requires time-consuming manual operations that are error-prone and limit the potential for reuse.

A new generation of 3D multi-board productlevel design tools offers major improvements by managing multi-board placement in both 2D and 3D, and enabling co-design of the chip, package and board in a single environment. Multi-board design makes it possible to create and validate a design with any combination of system-on-chips (SOCs), packages and PCBs as a complete system. Chip-package-board co-design enables designers to optimize routability via pin assignment and I/O placement to minimize layer counts between the package, chip and board. The new design methodology makes it possible to deliver more functional, higher performing and less expensive products to market in less time.


  • Multi-board design challenges
  • 3D design challenges
  • 3D design tools address multi-board
  • Chip-package-board co-design
  • Simulation

3D product centric design