Chip suppliers eyeing chiplet to meet growing demand for HPC

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

As it is becoming much more difficult and expensive to pack more transistors into a single chip, the chip industry pins its hope on chiplet technology when the global demand for HPC is growing.

As Moore's law seems to be reaching its physical limitations, making it harder to increase the transistor density within a chip, WSJ, quoted industry executives, reported that chiplet is viewed as an easier way to design more powerful chips.

Darlo Gil, IBM's head of research, told WSJ that it's just much more powerful than having to design a massive chip from scratch. The report also quoted Wang Xiaoyang, an executive of China-based startup M Square, saying that with chiplet technology, IC design houses can combine the ingredients they want, and it's simple to cook up the dish and serve it right away on the table.

According to DIGITIMES Research analysts Stella Weng and Eric Chen, the costs of making SoCs have sharply increased as the manufacturing process advances to sub-7nm. Besides, as the die sizes of CPU and GPU for servers become larger, the yields fall accordingly, further leading to higher manufacturing costs.

Chiplet, which combines different units of an SoC with advanced packaging, offers chip suppliers better yields and lower costs as different units can be outsourced to different fabs and made with different processing technologies before packaging, said DIGITIMES Research.

In an era when the growth of HPC is gaining speed, Intel and AMD are introducing chiplet technology into their chips for servers, and Nvidia is partnering with MediaTek, which will design automotive chips using Nvidia's GPU chiplet to power AI and other autonomous workloads.

As chiplet requires a common standard to connect with chips from different suppliers, Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) was formed to enable an open chiplet ecosystem and ubiquitous interconnect at the package level. Samsung also launched the Multi-Die Integration (MDI) alliance to address the rapid growth in the chiplet market for mobile and HPC applications.

Meanwhile, amid the US export bans and sanctions against China and Chinese companies, China-based companies are eyeing chiplet to play catchup when they are barred from acquiring advanced equipment and chips for computation-intensive applications. Chinese media PE Daily reported that Yuanli Semiconductor had completed tens of millions of yuan in seed funding in June, two months after its establishment. In March, the China Chiplet Industry Alliance released the Chiplet Interconnection Interface Standard to build a chiplet ecosystem in China.