Chinese electronics manufacturers are now in a very difficult situation, as they are gradually being blocked from “air” – that is, access to international technologies for the production of modern chips. It is clear that China is trying to get out of the situation, and manufacturers from this country are getting something. For example, now they announced the development of their own interface for chiplets. This project provides an opportunity to get away from using American technologies and develop our own. About what the Chinese are doing and why – under the cut.
What kind of interface is this and why is it needed?
We are talking about a specific technology, an interface for individual crystals on the processor substrate (in this case). The chiplet itself is an integrated circuit, a module that performs a certain amount of functions. They can be combined to obtain an integrated circuit of a higher level of complexity. Well, the interface defines the way the individual modules interact with each other.
A chip processor can be distinguished from a conventional one by the presence of several crystals on one substrate. The chiplet layout has many advantages, including the ability to assemble individual modules ordered from different manufacturers “on the spot”. Moreover, modules can be produced according to different technical processes. And yet – individual modules are often smaller than a conventional processor chip, which means that the amount of waste in their production is lower than in traditional chip production.
So, the Chinese have developed a competitor to the already existing UCIe (Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express) interface, which is being created, among other things, by the American companies AMD and Intel. In addition to them, you can also highlight Google, Qualcomm, Microsoft. In total, the list of participants will include about two dozen other American corporations. A large number of companies are involved in the work on UCIe, with American business prevailing. Accordingly, the United States may block China’s access to American technologies that are used in UCIe. Yes, this is an open standard, but still, the probability of blocking China’s access to work with this interface is far from zero.
The Chinese government and business understand this, which is why they have developed their own interface. It was called ACC 1.0 or Advanced Cost-driven Chiplet Interface 1.0. Not one company is working on it, but a whole group of them, but they are all from China. The names of the companies are not disclosed. The group itself was called China Chiplet League, its goal is to make the new interface a good solution for Chinese electronics manufacturers.
In addition to the advantages of chiplets described above, there are also disadvantages. Essential – only one. These are time delays in the exchange of data between individual modules. The UCIe representatives are working on a solution to this problem, and now the ACC 1.0 representatives are also working on it.
Chiplets can be beneficial to China, if only because manufacturers will be able to combine on a single substrate module chips produced according to different technical processes. This speeds up the production of chips and their launch for sale.
And not only interfaces
Chinese electronics manufacturers have had a good week. The matter is that besides the chiplet interface there is one more success. This developed by Huawei. Its engineers created Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools for 14nm chips.
In total, the company’s representatives have developed 78 tools that are somehow related to the software and hardware needed for the production of chips. Now the tools are being tested, the results will be known by the end of the year. The tools are not only developed by Huawei engineers, the project is being implemented by several companies, but in this group it is Huawei that does the lion’s share of the work.
As for the 14nm process technology, despite its relatively old age (the first 14nm chips appeared around the mid-2010s), it is still in demand. Particularly in the telecommunications industry. First of all, Huawei plans to use the chips itself, but, most likely, it will also produce them by order of other companies.
In general, this project some experts called a breakthrough.
By the way, perhaps it is thanks to the mentioned developments that Huawei will produce a modern chip, which we have already written about. The Chinese processor received the project name KC10, in the final, most likely, the model will be called Kirin 9010.
And this is a fairly efficient chip. In particular, it scores, according to media representatives, approximately 1.3 million points in the AnTuTu synthetic test, while the result of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the same test is 1.27 million points. Of course, individual results of popular benchmarks are not an indicator, but you can at least get an idea of the capabilities of the chip.
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As far as one can judge, China is doing really large-scale work in many areas at once in the production of electronics. If this continues, it may well be that the PRC will be able to start the production of chips that are not dependent on foreign business and politics.