Effect of HDI PCB and Layer Count on Bare Board Cost

HDI PCB boards are the most important PCB boards that are found in laptops, mobile phones, automotive, sensors, and many other advanced Electronic devices. HDI PCB cost is more than traditional bare board PCB cost because they are complex to design and fabricate.

Similarly, HDI PCB cost is more when its layers and size are more than ordinary bare PCB board. As material need will increase, the process will increase, and other factors will affect due to this. Fabricators will charge a higher HDI PCB cost for manufacturing than ordinary PCB.

Moreover, HDI PCB needs high precision and accuracy while fabricating them compared to normal PCB boards, enhancing HDI PCB cost. They use advanced Software and designers’ additional time while preparing their layout, which enhances the HDI PCB cost. 

Not only design but its fabrication also needs additional steps as compared to ordinary PCB board; thus, HDI PCB cost is more than bare PCB board. In this post, we will discuss all the factors affecting the HDI PCB cost, so you will better understand the bare board and HDI PCB cost difference while ordering them from a reliable manufacturer.

Factors That Affect HDI PCB Cost vs. Bare Board PCB Cost

Many PCB users believe that there is a big difference between normal and HDI PCB cost. The simple answer to this quite popular question is that HDI PCB technology is more advanced and requires more fabricating and designing stages, and these additional steps amplify the HDI PCB cost.

HDI PCB technology can reduce the size of your bare PCB boards and make them into a better functioning assembly by adjusting more components. Due to this, every advanced electronic manufacturer uses them, irrespective of the high HDI PCB cost.

The major factors that change HDI PCB cost from the bare board are following 

Use of High-quality PCB Material

The first major factor that affects HDI PCB cost or any advanced multilayer PCB cost compared to ordinary PCB boards is the use of the material in their fabrication. Ordinary PCB boards use FR4 boards, which are less expensive than HDI PCB board laminates.

HDI boards use high-quality, thinner dielectrics with better coating materials, as laser drilling is impossible with cheap or thick PCB laminates, which increases HDI PCB cost. HDI boards utilize adhesive copper foil for better drilling, further increasing HDI PCB cost.

It is essential to use high-quality PCB material to create a better microvias interconnection between PCB layers and increase the HDI PCB cost. Ordinary PCBs material requires normal drilling to create vias and interconnections between layers, due to which they are less expensive.

As HDI PCB boards are used in high-frequency applications, it can affect their quality if you even try to reduce HDI PCB cost by using inexpensive dielectrics with low dk and DF values. Compared to them, typical PCBs are inexpensive as they can utilize simple PCB materials.

Number of Multilayers 

It is another prime factor that impacts HDI PCB cost. The more layers are in your HDI PCB, the more HDI PCB cost, as a greater number of layers means more material, fabrication steps, drilling, etc., which will increase HDI PCB cost. 

Suppose you compare the same layer of bare PCB board with HDI PCB board. Undoubtedly, the HDI PCB cost is more than the normal PCB board. The bare board material, interconnection vias, designing, and printing are less expensive, which makes them low-cost even for the same-layer board.

Use of Laser Drilled Microvias

As HDI PCB utilizes a special laser for drilling and creating microsize vias, the HDI PCB cost is higher. Standard PCBs do not require special lasers; thus, they are less expensive. You can create vias in ordinary PCB using manual drilling, which is cheaper than the high HDI PCB cost.

In order to reduce your HDI PCB cost, you can ask your HDI PCB manufacturers to utilize mixed laser drilling for producing microvias during your HDI PCB fabrication, which is cheaper than pure UV or carbon dioxide laser drilling. 

Microvia hole size, hole type, and the number of layer holes also impact HDI PCB cost. This selection depends on your HDI PCB requirement; thus, the more precise your requirements, the more control your HDI PCB cost would be. Thus for better HDI PCB cost, select these factors carefully. 

Electroplating of Microvias 

In HDI PCB fabrication, there is a need for electroplating microvias for better interconnection between its layers, due to which HDI PCB cost is high. There is no such need for the bare board as normal vias are used in them.

For electroplating, both copper and inexpensive material can be used for filling. To reduce HDI PCB cost, you can ask HDI Fabricator to use less expensive fills instead of pure copper metal. It will decrease the HDI PCB cost and make them affordable to you. 

Sequential Lamination 

Another major factor that increases HDI PCB cost and makes them more expensive than bare multilayer PCB boards is the use of sequential lamination. The ordinary board uses one-step lamination. While multi layer HDI PCB boards need sequential lamination and other steps, increasing HDI PCB cost. 

This sequential lamination and other essential steps increase HDI PCB cost but help HDI PCBs in the miniaturization of PCBs and add more components and layers without increasing their weight, size, HDI PCB cost, making them more useful for electronic devices than the ordinary bare board.

Use of Surface Finish 

Lastly, the surface finish also impacts HDI PCB cost. PCB users mostly overlook it, but this is a crucial factor affecting HDI PCB cost. Compared to a bare PCB, an HDI PCB board uses multiple surface finishes, increasing the HDI PCB cost.

Two different types of surface finish are at least used in HDI PCB boards, one for fine pitch area and another for improving conduction; thus, its cost is more than a normal bare board. In most cases, both OSP and + ENIG surface finishes are used. That is why the HDI PCB cost is more.

Final Words: 

In this article, we have discussed the factors that affect HDI PCB cost and make them more expensive than ordinary bare boards and how to control HDI PCB cost.

Hemeixin, with its years of experience, and use of high-quality PCB materials, offers the best HDI PCB boards worldwide at the best prices. You can use their advanced cost calculator to get the best HDI PCB cost prices.

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.