Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) Announced: Setting Standards For The Chiplet Ecosystem

If there has been one prominent, industry-wide trend in chip design over the past half-decade or so, it has been the growing use of chiplets. The tiny dies have become an increasingly common feature as chip makers look to them to address everything from chip manufacturing costs to the overall scalability of a design. Be it simply splitting up a formerly monolithic CPU in to a few pieces, or going to the extreme with 47 chiplets on a single package, chiplets are already playing a big part in chip design today, and chip makers have made it clear that it’s only going to grow in the future.

In the meantime, after over 5 years of serious, high-volume use, chiplets and the technologies underpinning them seem to finally be reaching an inflection point in terms of design. Chip makers have developed a much better idea of what chiplets are (and are not) good for, packaging suppliers have refined their ultra-precise methods needed to place chiplets, and engineering teams have ironed out the communications protocols used to have chiplets talk amongst each other. In short, chiplets are no longer experimental designs that need to be proven, but instead have become proven designs that chip makers can rely on. And with that increasing reliance on chiplet technology comes the need for design roadmaps and stability – the need for design standards.

To that end, today Intel, AMD, Arm, and all three leading-edge foundries are coming together to announce that they are forming a new and open standard for chiplet interconnects, which is aptly being named Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express, or UCIe. Taking significant inspiration from the very successful PCI-Express playbook, with UCIe the involved firms are creating a standard for connecting chiplets, with the goal of having a single set of standards that not only simplify the process for all involved, but lead the way towards full interoperability between chiplets from different manufacturers, allowing chips to mix-and-match chiplets as chip makers see fit. In other words, to make a complete and compatible ecosystem out of chiplets, much like today’s ecosystem for PCIe-based expansion cards.

Source: Recent News