The new standard for UCIe chips
The new standard for UCIe chips

The world's leading chipmakers have joined forces to develop the UCIe system to stitch microchips together into semiconductor designs of the future.

Almost all major brands of processor technologies are working on it, such as Intel, Samsung, TSMC, Qualcomm, Meta, Google, Microsoft, AMD and Arm.

As the name suggests, UCIe is designed to take the same PCIe scale ecosystem model that has been around for years, and then expand it to include smaller, more specialized chips that perform fewer functions.

The goal of UCIe is to create a microchip connectivity standard that will make it easier for companies to coordinate different microchip components when building systems from SoCs.

The idea is to allow technology companies to incorporate different chip components into their designs. This allows you to add compatible PCIe accessories to your computer (regardless of the individual companies that make each part).

There are generally two ways to build a SoC. The more traditional monolithic integrated wafer approach combines all semiconductor parts and assemblies into a single silicon print.

Microchips take a different approach. Instead of making one big chip with all the components, microchips break things down into smaller components, which are then combined into a larger processor.

Chip systems have certain advantages. Microchips can reduce waste. For example, one of the eight-core chips can be discarded if the core fails. Instead of wasting a full 16-core microcontroller.

The chip design also has advantages, allowing companies to downsize key components such as processor cores into smaller new processing nodes without having to scale back on-chip systems accordingly.

Additionally, the system enables companies to manufacture larger chips from a single contiguous design. This is done by combining chips.

UCIe Unified Microchip System Interface

AMD's recent Ryzen Zen 2 and Zen 3 chips are among the most striking examples of today's chip designs. For example, each Zen 3 CPU is made up of a 7nm octa-core chip from TSMC's own CPU and GPU components, and an I/O chip based on legacy GlobalFoundries nodes.

The UCIe project is still in its infancy. Currently, the standardization process is focused on establishing rules for assembling microchip stacks into larger packages.

However, there are plans to create a UCIe Industry Group to define the next generation of UCIe technology. Including future forms of microchips, management, enhanced security, and other core protocols.

This means that an integrated microchip ecosystem can be built, allowing companies to create custom SoCs by purchasing different components as needed. This approach is similar to how users build gaming PCs using different hardware from multiple companies.

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