Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Elprocus
Discrete components and integrated circuits, commonly referred to as ICs, are both important categories of electronic components.
ICs can be found in almost any type of circuit. In fact, most discrete circuits contain at least one integrated circuit — whether they’re a digital logic gate or a microprocessor. Integrated circuits have become so common that many people don’t know what discrete circuit vs integrated circuit is.
Read on to learn more about these two types of electronic components and how they are used in different applications. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between discrete circuits vs integrated circuits.
What is a Discrete Circuit?
A discrete circuit is a circuit made up of individual components that are connected together to perform a particular function. When you are building a discrete circuit, you are creating an individual circuit from scratch with discrete components. These discrete components are not connected to each other in any way—they are not soldered or wired together.
They are designed and manufactured separately. Later on, they are brought together to form a single and functional circuit.
Discrete components are usually made of semiconducting materials, like silicon or germanium, that can be in either an “on” or “off” state (i.e. they can have a high resistance or a low resistance).
Discrete components include transistors, resistors, diodes, and capacitors.
What is an Integrated Circuit?
An integrated circuit, commonly referred to as an IC, is a miniaturized electronic circuit consisting of a number of electronic components manufactured on a single semiconductor substrate. The components are connected together to form an electronic circuit. The ICs have terminals that are part of the same substrate as the transistors and other components on the chip.
The circuits are also interconnected with each other to form larger circuits. These interconnections are called “inter-level connections”.
They are designed by engineers using computer aided design software and printed onto a wafer made of silicon or gallium arsenide using photolithography.
Discrete circuit Vs Integrated circuit: What’s the difference?
Size: Discrete circuit vs integrated circuit
Another difference between discrete circuits and integrated circuits is their physical size. Integrated circuits are physically much smaller than discrete circuits. In fact, if you compare the sizes of discrete components and an IC, it may look as if they’re not even the same thing.
For example, discrete transistors measure around 100 millimeters in length. Integrated circuits, on the other hand, are only a couple of millimeters long. Integrated circuits can be as small as 0.1 millimeters or as small as 1 millimeter. Meanwhile, discrete components are between 0.5 and 10 millimeters wide.
Shape and design: Discrete circuit vs integrated circuit
Integrated circuits are designed to perform a single function. This is because they perform more than one function by joining two or more discrete circuits together. Integrated circuits are comprised of multiple circuits that are separated and connected together.
For example, discrete capacitors and resistors are fixed together to form either a capacitor or a resistor. People use discrete circuits for complex functions because they can be changed to perform different tasks by adding additional components to the circuit or removing others.
Integrated circuits are not as flexible. They can be designed to perform a single function, and they are more difficult to customize.
Composition: Discrete circuit vs integrated circuit
Discrete circuits are made of discrete components such as resistors, capacitors, and diodes. Integrated circuits, on the other hand, are made of transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors, and other discrete components.
In short, the two have the same composition only that they differ in how each component has been added.
Cost: Discrete circuit vs integrated circuit
The cost of discrete circuits versus integrated circuits is also a difference worth noting. Although integrated circuits are more expensive, they are designed to perform many different functions.
Integrated circuits are often purchased in large quantities, which drives down their cost per unit.
Meanwhile, discrete circuits are usually purchased in small quantities, which increases the per-unit cost.
Advantages of discrete circuit
The first advantage of discrete circuits is that they are customizable. Because discrete circuits are made up of components that can be added and removed, you can easily modify them to perform different functions.
Integrated circuits, on the other hand, are more difficult to customize. But one advantage that integrated circuits have over discrete circuits is that they are smaller and more energy efficient.
Advantages of integrated circuits
The advantages of integrated circuits over discrete circuits are that they are more reliable, are easier to mass-produce, are more cost-effective, and consume less power. Integrated circuits are more reliable than discrete circuits because complex functions can be broken down into individual circuits. If one circuit fails, the rest of the circuit will continue to operate.
One of the disadvantages of integrated circuits are that they are more difficult to customize and are susceptible to damage from ESD.
Choosing the best IC for your project
When you are choosing an integrated circuit for your project, you need to carefully consider the following factors:
– Functionality: This is the first thing you should consider when you’re choosing the best IC for your project.
– Size: You also need to make sure that the IC you choose is small enough to fit into your design.
– Power consumption: The power consumption of your circuit is extremely important, especially for battery-powered devices. You need to choose an IC that uses as little power as possible.
– Package type: The type of package the IC is in will determine how easy it is to use.
Choosing the best integrated circuit supplier in China
When selecting an integrated circuit supplier in China, you need to be sure that the supplier is legitimate.
A good supplier will always source their IC from the best manufacturers in China. And that is exactly what we at ICRFQ do. We are a reliable sourcing agent of electronic components in China.
Contact us whenever you want to import integrated circuits and discrete circuits in China.
Keep these differences between discrete circuits vs integrated circuits in mind as you design your next circuit. With this information, you will have a better understanding of how discrete circuits and integrated circuits are different and how they can be used in different applications.
And of course remember to choose a reputable supplier of these circuits, whether it is a discrete circuit or an integrated circuit.
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