Keysight Rolls Out Chiplet PHY Designer to Test Chiplets Based on UCIe

The company said Chiplet PHY Designer presents a faster and easier way to simulate the electrical performance of D2D interconnects based on UCIe and test out designs against the latest revisions of the specification.

What are the Pros and Cons of Chiplets?

Flexibility is a hallmark of chiplet technology, said Stephen Slater, product manager for Keysight’s high-speed digital simulation technology. The concept of chiplets allows companies to adapt to evolving markets and new technological advancements by mixing and matching chiplets, he told Electronic Design.

Instead of placing everything on a single slab of silicon as usual, the movers and shakers in the semiconductor industry are breaking up complex systems-on-chips (SoCs) into smaller silicon dies that have separate pieces of IP, including CPUs, GPUs, AI accelerators, memory, I/O, and various other chip functionalities. After being tested, verified, and validated, the chiplets can be mixed and matched in a package using silicon interposers or other 2.5D packaging technologies, such as TSMC’s CoWoS or Intel’s EMIB, or more advanced 3D stacking.

In many cases, companies are pulling apart these larger processors and repackaging them because they’re too expensive or impossible to build on a single silicon die due to the physical limits of Moore’s Law. By spreading out the SoC’s functionality over several chiplets, you can cram more transistors in the package than you can in a single processor due to the “reticle limit” of the wafer manufacturing process, said Slater.

The chiplets themselves interact with each other using high-speed, short-range SerDes PHYs and establish connections over UCIe or various other die-to-die interfaces such as the Open Compute Project’s (OCP) Bunch-of-Wires (BoW) and the Common Electrical I/O (CEI) Extra-Short Reach (XSR) standard.

Dismantling SoC designs into a smaller set of chiplets makes for easier heterogeneous integration, noted Slater. Every chiplet can be built on the best process technologies for the job, helping reduce complexity and costs.

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