Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express: A processor revolution on the horizon

| Updated: June 22, 2022 10:27:32

Representational image. Photo: ET Telecom Representational image. Photo: ET Telecom

Building a PC requires a number of components - monitors, graphics cards, processors, power supplies, RAM, and so on.

All of these different components are made and manufactured by different companies, but when assembled together, all these components come together and work in harmony to give us the PC experience we need.

Now imagine, you are building your own processor which you are going to use to power up your computer, and you are choosing different parts of the processors from different manufacturers, who knows, you might choose one component from AMD’s offering and another one from Intel in the same chip!

This is the fundamental concept behind the revolutionary upcoming technology ‘Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express’ or UCIE.

Today’s computer processors or chips have come a long way even from the last 6-7 years. Chip designers have figured out that using multiple smaller chips to perform different tasks makes computer processing way more efficient and powerful, rather than making a big chip to perform all the intricate calculations that go on in a computer processor.

The smaller chiplets are arranged in one dye and manufacturers optimise the chips to seamlessly work together.

The UCIe allows the chip manufacturers to build their smaller chips or chiplets on a standard platform, much like how our SSDs which are made on one standard platform like ‘PCIe Gen 3.0’ connectors, so that every SSD manufacturer makes their SSDs on one standard platform and buyers have more simplicity and flexibility regarding their purchasing decision.

Similarly, there might come a day when you’ll be using different chiplets designed by AMD, INTEL, Google, and Microsoft all in one processor for different tasks. And that might just completely change the concept of how we look at personal computers now.

Except for Nvidia and Apple, the world’s some of the biggest names in the chip industry have already put their money on the UCIE.

Companies like Intel, AMD, TSMC, SAMSUNG, Google, Microsoft, ARM, META, and Qualcomm have joined in on the idea and as a part of the process, the first UCIe 1.0 specification got released on March 2 of 2022.

The UCIe standard lets the chip companies specialise in their own strength, and also makes the chip-designing process way more efficient than it already is.

One universal standard will also use fewer resources as the manufacturers won’t have to go through different parts and procedures for different companies. The UCIe standard is estimated to speed up the I/O performance 20 times in the initial phase, and the sky is the limit for this technology in the upcoming years.

The UCIe standard is still at its initial level. We may not see something completely revolutionary in its first interaction, but with time, as the designing and optimisation of the chiplets get more complex and efficient, this idea might just shape up the processor industry in the coming decade.

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