With product cycles shrinking globally, designing a System on Chip (SoC) is key to differentiating consumer products and experiences with chip-based features. Hence, a steady increase in the number of large companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla) designing their own chipsets. The most notable include Apple’s M1 Processor, which now resides on the latest iMacs and iPads and Tesla’s ‘Dojo’ chip to train AI networks in data centers.

Factors to Consider for Custom SoC development

No matter how advantageous the custom SoC equation might seem, companies opting for a custom SoC need to consider several factors that include – key differentiating features, the target market, its size and the market share, the production volume & the lifecycle of their products, the fabrication technology to adopt, cost to design and fabricate the custom SoCs, and the time to market.

Once the companies consider the macro factors, they also look at the growth opportunities that come along with designing their own SoCs:

  • More control on supply chain due to less dependence on SoC supplier’s and their production cycles
  • Competitive advantage, design flexibility and product differentiation
  • Need for chips that can handle specialized imagery processing and Machine Learning algorithms
  • Powering niche IoT-specific applications and use cases across verticals
  • Rise of Embedded AI wave and shift from modules to custom SoCs
  • Access to affordable and strategic talent partners for custom silicon design capabilities, which were only available with specialized semiconductor companies before
  • Proliferation of open source
  • Modeling, simulation and availability of technologies to fast-track software design, even without hardware

With such factors and opportunities at play, many companies are increasingly moving towards adopting a twin strategy: using general purpose or stock SoCs for standardized software/features, and, using custom SoCs for integrating proprietary IPs and accelerators designed for specialized functions or to enhance performance and efficiency.


Apart from product differentiation needs, companies have been facing complex challenges that have further reiterated the need for adopting the custom SoC route. They include:

Apart from product differentiation needs, companies are also facing complex challenges that have accelerated the need for adopting custom SoC. Broadly speaking, the top challenges are:

  • Silicon shortage and supply chain disruptions
  • Need for multiple SoCs to achieve specific functionalities as designing gets complex for stock SoCs to incorporate advanced features
  • Limited scope for software-driven product differentiation with almost all players and vendors having access to same hardware and efficient & scalable open-source solutions
  • Achieving the right power-performance-feature-price ratios
  • Difficulty in integrating proprietary algorithms leading to compromises

Why partner with Quest Global?

We strive to be the most trusted partner for the world’s hardest engineering problems. We offer end-to-end silicon engineering services which include architecture design, logic/circuit design, physical design, verification & tape-out, production and even system realization.

We also partner with IP vendors, tool chain vendors and foundries that make designing and manufacturing custom SoCs at scale, faster, simpler and more cost-effective for our customers. While enabling you to differentiate your product experience with custom SoC-based features, we also help build long-term partnerships for our customers and vendors.

Our comprehensive expertise and offerings are further supported by system and software services. This allow us to own/support the critical downstream activities for silicon adoption such as custom tools, SDKs and getting the system software up which was previously provided by a SoC vendor.

Custom SoCs – Key Components

Custom SoC development requires a synergy between the product requirements and specifications, the system and software that goes into the product, the hardware capabilities, the tools to be utilized for the development and the supply chain involving the fabrication of custom SoC.

Quest Global is an E2E global product engineering services organization that brings together experts, technologies and industries, to help customers in custom SoC development – right from the requirement gathering and specifications, chip design, design and development of hardware and software, integration and end to end validation.

With 56 global delivery centers driven by 13,000+ extraordinary employees who make the impossible possible every day, Quest Global brings deep industry knowledge to deliver customized E2E product engineering services. Also, with our multi-dimensional approach and proven expertise in high performance computing, we can seamlessly deliver custom SoCs across domains, whether for a complex ADAS system for cars or an advanced safety system for trains, or even airplanes.

Key Benefits

  • Superior, faster and more energy-efficient chips
  • Lower TCO & reduced BOM
  • Optimal co-designed hardware-software systems
  • Creates a competitive edge with distinct capabilities & features
  • Efficient cost structures and higher margins
  • Enhance control over the integration of hardware and software for distinct applications
  • Less dependency on product roadmaps of traditional Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturers
  • Potential for enhanced performance and energy efficiency


Stock SoCs are a commodity, as any company can use them and build their products. With custom SoCs, companies can also extend the differentiation into low-level hardware and create a competitive advantage and differentiation which are often limited to mostly the in-built software.

Quest Global customers accelerate innovation and deliver next-gen experiences by partnering with us for their custom SoC strategies and objectives. To know more about our Silicon Engineering and custom SoC services, reach out to us.

Written by Tinku Jose

on 17 Jun 2022

CoE Leader (Embedded Product Engineering) 

Quest Global