Semiconductor industry titans like Intel, AMD, Samsung, TSMC and Arm have all come together to announce a new universal chip interface that they hope will accelerate chip innovation in the future.
The new consortium is called Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe), and its goal is to standardize die-to-die interconnects for chipset designs in the future with an open source approach that anyone in the industry can use. .
Nvidia was notably absent from the consortium, but perhaps that doesn’t matter much since all three major semiconductor foundries in the world (Intel, TSMC and Samsung) participate.
What this means for the processor design will ultimately be up to the engineers, but in short it will allow for better integration of chiplets, which are smaller processor components that take some of the load off the central processing cores. which themselves could also be designed as chiplets.
Part of the appeal of UCIe is that it gives the industry more flexibility in designing the processor in a way that allows it to interface with other components on a motherboard via PCIe and other connections.
Analysis: it’s chiplets all the way down
The chip design offers all sorts of advantages over the existing all-in-one component paradigm.
For one, the chiplets don’t all need to use the same CPU node, so you can have a mix of 5nm chiplets that handle high-performance tasks alongside 12nm and 14nm chiplets that focus more on less rigorous tasks.
If that sounds a lot like Arm’s big.LITTLE architecture design, you’re not mistaken. Chiplets essentially take Arm’s design and extend it beyond just the central processing cores.
Another benefit UCIe brings is the flexibility to adopt more 2.5D and 3D chip technologies, as our friends at Tom’s Hardware explain.
With the new open chip standard, the industry has an important new tool to address the scaling challenges presented by physics and the impending end of Moore’s Law.