Chiplets, also known as chip-scale packages (CSPs) or multi-chip modules (MCMs), are a technology used in the design and manufacturing of integrated circuits (ICs). They involve dividing a complex integrated circuit into smaller individual components called chiplets, which can be manufactured separately and then assembled together to create a complete system-on-chip (SoC).
Traditionally, ICs were designed and manufactured as monolithic chips, where all the components and functionalities were integrated onto a single piece of silicon. However, as semiconductor technology advances, the complexity and size of ICs have increased, posing challenges in terms of manufacturing yield, performance, and cost.
Chiplets offer a way to address these challenges by allowing the integration of different chiplets, each optimized for specific functions or technologies, onto a single package or substrate. For example, a chiplet may contain a CPU core, another chiplet may contain a GPU, and yet another chiplet may contain memory or I/O components. These chiplets can be designed and fabricated independently by different manufacturers, leveraging their respective expertise and technologies.
The benefits of chiplets include:
- Performance and power optimization: Chiplets enable the integration of specialized components, allowing each chiplet to be designed and optimized for a specific function. This can lead to better performance and power efficiency compared to a monolithic design.
- Faster time-to-market: Since chiplets can be designed and manufactured independently, it enables a more modular approach to IC design. This can accelerate the development process, allowing for faster time-to-market for new products.
- Design flexibility and scalability: Chiplets provide greater design flexibility, as different chiplets can be mixed and matched to create customized ICs. This modularity also enables scalability, as additional chiplets can be added or upgraded as needed without redesigning the entire system.
- Improved manufacturing yield: The smaller size of chiplets compared to monolithic chips can lead to higher manufacturing yields. If a chiplet fails during manufacturing, it can be replaced without discarding the entire chip, reducing waste and costs.
Chiplet technology is being adopted in various domains, including high-performance computing, data centers, artificial intelligence, and mobile devices. It offers a promising approach to overcome the challenges posed by the increasing complexity of ICs while providing flexibility, performance optimization, and cost-effective solutions.