For many years, semiconductor companies reliably secured their respective market positions by pushing engineers to the next process node. However, the slowdown of Moore’s law prompted companies to re-evaluate chip design with multi-die systems and re-envision their participation in the wider semiconductor ecosystem.
To be sure, multi-die systems are creating exciting new partnerships, opportunities, and standards including Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCle). This open specification for die-to-die interconnects between dies or chiplets is rapidly gaining popularity and sparking innovative multi-die designs across the industry. Chip foundries like TSMC help foster this innovation—although the company doesn’t design products. To successfully manufacture multi-die systems for its customers, TSMC works closely with ecosystem partners to facilitate collaboration between players in chip design, materials, testing, and packaging.
“We create a technology platform and allow our customers to innovate on it,” Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of business development, TSMC, explains in the report. “We bring in different product players—including fabless design companies, system companies, for example—to develop a product that can be seamlessly integrated with our underlying technology and create innovative products to deliver significant benefits to the end users.”
As Zhang notes in the report, TSMC offers a family of chip stacking and packaging technologies, called TSMC 3DFabric™, to address some common chiplet design challenges. “We’ve developed a broad portfolio of different ways to integrate multiple chips together,” he elaborates. “[With 3D stacking], you can create a system with high-bandwidth interconnects between the chips while maintaining very small form factors.”
In the future, Zhang says in the report, multi-die systems will become a “prevailing way to bring more function and more capabilities together to achieve better system-level performance and power efficiency.”
While multi-die systems aren’t a new concept, it is fast gaining traction across the semiconductor ecosystem. According to Ghazi, if late 2022 was an inflection point for multi-die systems, 2023 looks to be the year when these architectures really take off.
“We’re not talking about the industry just trying to test the water—it’s well beyond that,” he emphasizes in the report, noting that Synopsys is currently tracking hundreds of unique systems designed around multi-die architecture.
“The need is there, the push from industry is absolutely there,” Ghazi concludes in the report. “What makes it exciting is the innovation we’re seeing across the chain—from architecture all the way to manufacturing—and how we’re collaborating to optimize the whole technology stack so multi-die systems can reach scale across global markets.”