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How to Reduce HDI PCB Costs Without Quality Sacrifice

HDI PCB cost
PCBONLINE Team Tues, Nov 01, 2022

HDI PCBs are printed circuit boards with high-density circuits and microvias that are laser drilled. HDI PCB assembly is fine-pitch assembly, and the minimum pitch for ultra HDI PCB assembly is only 0.05mm from the one-stop HDI PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE. For IC load boards, implanted medical devices, and many small and thin applications, HDI and ultra HDI PCBs are necessary. However, HDI PCBs are expensive. How to reduce HDI PCB costs? As an HDI and IC load board PCB manufacturer, we often receive such a question from clients. So we write down the below content to give you possible help.


The two most useful tips to decrease HDI PCB costs are:

1. Reducing the times for laser drilling.

2. Reducing the time for laminating.

3. Increasing the HDI PCB thickness.

Reduce Laser Drilling Times to Reduce HDI PCB Cost

Keep in mind that the laser drilling cost is about $70 to $90 per time. In fabrication, the cost of laser drilling takes up a large portion of the HDI PCB cost.

Microvias have an aperture within 0.15mm and their shape is an inverted trapezoid. Micorvias on adjacent layers can be stacked or staggered. A microvia connects only two adjacent copper layers. Microvias can be drilled only by laser.

How many times of laser drilling does an HDI stackup require? For example, a 1+N+1 stackup requires only one time of laser drilling, and a 2+N+2 stackup requires twice laser drilling. You can change your PCB design to reduce the laser drilling times. Or you can contact PCBONLINE by email at info@pcbonline.com to ask their CAM engineer to help you do it.

HDI PCB design

The client asked whether the PCB fabrication price could be reduced. PCBONLINE's CAM engineer with more than 20 years of experience advised changing the laser drilling structure from layers 2-3 and 4-5 to layers 3-4 and 1-6. In this way, each HDI PCB saves two times of laser drilling.

How much does this change save for the whole HDI PCB project?

This was a prototype order, and the client ordered only 5 pieces of HDI PCBs. However, after this change, the fabrication price was $150 less than the original design.

Reduce Laminating Times to Reduce HDI PCB Cost

HDI PCBs are fabricated by drilling vias on PCB layers and laminating the layers. You can reduce the HDI PCB fabrication cost by reducing the time of laminating.

This 1+4+1 HDI PCB has no buried vias and requires only one time of laminating. Layers 2-3 is a core, and on it adds to a laminate and copper foil. Layers 4-5 is the other core, and under it adds a laminate and a copper foil. Between the two cores adds to a laminate. A laminating force presses the layers, and we get a lamination, which is even simpler than many multilayer PCBs.

HDI PCB stack-up

For 1+4+1 HDI, it is another story. The board has blind vias, buried vias, and through holes. Layers 2-5 are laminated and there's mechanical drilling for the buried vias. Then layer 1 and layer 6 are added to the core. And there is a second time for laminating.

Though the above two 1+4+1 HDI PCBs both require only one time of laser drilling, the stackup without buried vias requires only one time of laminating, while the other with buried vias in layers 2-4 requires twice. The price of the former is lower than the latter.

The same can be obtained for a 2+4+2 HDI PCB. If the PCB designer changes the buried via from layers 3-6 to layers 2-7, the board saves one time of laminating.

Increasing the HDI PCB Thickness to Reduce HDI PCB Price

For a thin HDI PCB with a complex stackup, increasing the HDI PCB thickness can make it easier to fabricate so that the price can be reduced. But this is not absolute.

If an HDI PCB has a very large thickness, by contrast, decreasing the PCB thickness can reduce the fabrication cost.

Besides, other factors such as impedance, laminate material, copper thickness, and surface finish affect the HDI PCB fabrication price. To reduce the HDI PCB cost, you can contact your PCB supplier to get a quote first. If the PCB cost is beyond your expectations, you can ask your supplier's advice to optimize the PCB design to reduce the fabrication cost if possible. From the experienced HDI PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE, you can expect super useful optimization suggestions for your PCB design.

Affordable and High-Quality HDI PCB Fabrication from One-Stop Manufacturer PCBONLINE

HDI PCB manufacturer

PCBONLINE, founded in 1999, is an ISO and IATF-certified advanced electronics contract manufacturer. From PCBONLINE, you can have HDI PCBs fabricated and assembled at an affordable cost with high reliability.

By working with PCBONLINE, you can enjoy these benefits:

    • PCBONLINE can fabricate HDI PCBs with a stackup of 1+N+1, 2+N+2, 3+N+3, and 4+N+4 from 4 to 64 layers.
    • 3000m² of HDI PCB manufacturing capability per day to satisfy your fabrication demand from an initial idea to high-volume production.
    • Minimum laser drill aperture 0.075mm, minimum HDI PCB thickness 0.15mm, and finest pitch 0.05mm.
    • HDI rigid, flexible, and rigid-flex PCBs are all available for production from prototype to bulk fabrication.
    • PCBONLINE's experienced CAM engineer can help you reduce the HDI PCB cost with the optimum PCB design.

PCBONLINE has successful experiences in fabricating ultra HDI PCBs -- IC load boards. If you want to know how much the fabrication of your current HDI PCB design may cost, send your Gerber to info@pcbonline.com to get a quote. If you want to reduce the HDI PCB cost, please ask PCBONLINE to help. It's free, and works!


The HDI PCB cost can be reduced without sacrificing the board's quality and reliability by optimizing the PCB design. This article provides three pieces of advice and they are reducing laser drilling, reducing laminating, and increasing the HDI PCB thickness. To make sure your PCB design is optimum and the fabrication cost is affordable, contact PCBONLINE to give you one-on-one advice and one-stop fabrication services.

© This article is an original work of the PCBONLINE team. Please indicate the author PCBONLINE if you reprint. If the article is reproduced without permission or indicating the author's source, PCBONLINE reserves the right to investigate the infringement.


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