The Good And Bad Of Chiplets


The chiplet model continues to gain traction in the market, but there are still some challenges to enable broader support for the technology. AMD, Intel, TSMC, Marvell and a few others have developed or demonstrated devices using chiplets, which is an alternative way to develop an advanced design. Beyond that, however, the adoption of chiplets is limited in the industry due to ecosystem issu... » read more

‘More Than Moore’ Reality Check


The semiconductor industry is embracing multi-die packages as feature scaling hits the limits of physics, but how to get there with the least amount of pain and at the lowest cost is a work in progress. Gaps remain in tooling and methodologies, interconnect standards are still being developed, and there are so many implementations of packaging that the number of choices is often overwhelming. ... » read more

Making Chips At 3nm And Beyond


Select foundries are beginning to ramp up their new 5nm processes with 3nm in R&D. The big question is what comes after that. Work is well underway for the 2nm node and beyond, but there are numerous challenges as well as some uncertainty on the horizon. There already are signs that the foundries have pushed out their 3nm production schedules by a few months due to various technical issu... » read more

New Ways To Optimize Machine Learning


As more designers employ machine learning (ML) in their systems, they’re moving from simply getting the application to work to optimizing the power and performance of their implementations. Some techniques are available today. Others will take time to percolate through the design flow and tools before they become readily available to mainstream designers. Any new technology follows a basic... » read more

Why It’s So Hard To Create New Processors


The introduction, and initial success, of the RISC-V processor ISA has reignited interest in the design of custom processors, but the industry is now grappling with how to verify them. The expertise and tools that were once in the market have been consolidated into the hands of the few companies that have been shipping processor chips or IP cores over the past 20 years. Verification of a pro... » read more

HBM Issues In AI Systems


All systems face limitations, and as one limitation is removed, another is revealed that had remained hidden. It is highly likely that this game of Whac-A-Mole will play out in AI systems that employ high-bandwidth memory (HBM). Most systems are limited by memory bandwidth. Compute systems in general have maintained an increase in memory interface performance that barely matches the gains in... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Rising


The chiplet model is gaining momentum as an alternative to developing monolithic ASIC designs, which are becoming more complex and expensive at each node. Several companies and industry groups are rallying around the chiplet model, including AMD, Intel and TSMC. In addition, there is a new U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative. The goal is to speed up time to market and reduce the cost... » read more

Moving To GAA FETs


How do you measure the size of a transistor? Is it the gate length, or the distance between the source and drain contacts? For planar transistors, the two values are approximately the same. The gate, plus a dielectric spacer, fits between the source and drain contacts. The contact pitch, limited by the smallest features that the lithography process can print, determines how many transistors ... » read more

The MCU Dilemma


The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore's Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm. At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, re... » read more

5/3nm Wars Begin


Several foundries are ramping up their new 5nm processes in the market, but now customers must decide whether to design their next chips around the current transistor type or move to a different one at 3nm and beyond. The decision involves the move to extend today’s finFETs to 3nm, or to implement a new technology called gate-all-around FETs (GAA FETs) at 3nm or 2nm. An evolutionary step f... » read more

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