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The next frontier in semiconductor innovation: Chiplets and the rise of 3D-ICs

As we are ushered into a future brimming with digital complexity, it's become exceedingly clear that the lifeblood of this new era is pumped by one crucial industry: semiconductors. From smartphones to servers underpinning the cloud, semiconductor chips are indispensable in our march toward an increasingly tech-dependent reality. One common thing in most devices around us is that the real estate available on them for specific workloads is getting smaller, and devices must run multiple workloads optimally.

www.expresscomputer.in/, Feb. 12, 2024 – 

This can only be achieved by integrating as many functions as possible into a system-on-chip (SoC), making them smaller and more reliable. The industry has followed Moore's law for decades to meet such demands by reducing transistor sizes. However, with artificial intelligence (AI) /machine language (ML) and high-performance computing (HPC), the demand for compute performance and data transfer for hyperscale data centres is at an all-time high.

The chip manufacturers are facing technological and economic challenges at advanced nodes, and there has been a need to find innovative solutions and achieve performance improvements with reduced power. Stacking chips in the same package (3D) and a multi-chiplet system with a silicon interposer on the same package (2.5D) are emerging as solutions. By using advanced interconnect technology to combine hardened IP blocks or specialised chiplets, engineers can avoid the compounding issues of extreme transistor shrinkage, such as increased defect rates and overheating.

The rise of Chiplets in semiconductor design: Key drivers

Chiplets aren't just the next step but a significant leap in semiconductor design philosophy. They offer a compelling value proposition by enabling unprecedented density and performance improvements without the downsides typically associated with traditional miniaturization approaches. As pivotal elements in various industries, chiplets are anticipated to be crucial in developing mobile and automotive technologies, data centers, AI processing, and more. They are vital in sectors demanding high-density and high-performance chip architectures–such as networking, AI/ML, real-time analytics, and media processing–making chiplets an optimal solution. Designing with chiplets offers numerous benefits such as:

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