Industry Spec Paves Way for Processors Built on Chiplets

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AMD, Intel, and Arm have agreed to adopt the new ‘UCIe’ specification to design processors that can mix chiplets from different suppliers into a single unit.
The IT sector is banding together to create a new standard that will pave the way for computer processors based on multi-vendor semiconductor components.

Consider a laptop with a combination of Intel and Arm CPU cores. Or a smartphone that combines Qualcomm and Samsung semiconductor technology into a single CPU. The new Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express standard aims to facilitate this.

The new standard was introduced on Wednesday by AMD, Intel, Arm, TSMC, and Samsung, among others, to help develop “an open chiplets ecosystem” that can source chip designs and production throughout the industry. “The future of the semiconductor industry is integrating several chiplets in a package to provide product innovation across market categories,” Intel Executive Vice President Sandra Rivera said in the release.

The UCIe specification focuses on creating a standardized “die-to-die interconnect” that can connect chip components on a single processor. The businesses have agreed to utilize the standard in the future, allowing consumers to “mix and match” chiplets from different suppliers and combine them into a single SoC.
Customers have asked for “more configurable” computer chips that work with numerous manufacturers rather than just one, therefore the firms created the UCIe standard. Meta, Microsoft, Google Cloud, and Qualcomm are among the other sponsors of the UCIe specification.
An open chiplet ecosystem, according to the companies’ whitepaper, could help reduce manufacturing costs and improve chip yields, lowering the processor’s cost.

“The age of Chiplets has finally here,” said Lihong Cao, a director at Advanced Semiconductor Engineering in Taiwan, another UCIe spec sponsor. “We are convinced that UCIe will play a key role in enabling ecosystem efficiencies by reducing development time and cost through open standards for interfaces across diverse IPs (intellectual properties),” said the team.

Intel has also expressed interest in developing chips that blend its own silicon with that of TSMC, the firm that makes AMD and Apple CPUs. Furthermore, Intel’s new foundry division intends to produce processors for clients that combine hybrid architectures like x86, Arm, and RISC-V into a single package.

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