**The Microchip Era Is Giving Way to the Megachip Age**
**To continue making our gadgets more powerful, engineers have worked out a new way to get around the barriers to making microchips faster: Just make them bigger.**
**By Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2022**
**One way engineers are making this happen is by piling microchips atop one another. It’s like urban infill, only instead of building towering new apartment blocks, the usually pancake-flat tiles of silicon inside of computers are becoming multistory, with the circuitry used for functions such as memory, power management and graphics stacked on top of each other....**
**This is now possible in large part because of recent innovation in an area that has long been neglected by the chip industry. That area is “packaging.” That’s the usually obscure step that comes after a microchip has been manufactured, when it is connected to tiny wires and enveloped in plastic before being placed on a board, also covered in wires, that connects it to the rest of a device....The new packaging of megachips instead connects two chips — and potentially many more — directly, instead of using a bus....**
**The essential building block to make megachips and chip stacking happen is a new kind of microchip, called a “chiplet.” It does away with some of the old-style circuitry to communicate more directly with other chiplets. By creating many short, direct connections — often forged from the same silicon that the chips themselves are made from, rather than copper or some other metal — these chiplets can be fused with other chiplets to form megachips....** [end quote]
The big chip manufacturers, including Intel, TSMC, Samsung and AMD, are cooperating on a new standard, called the Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express, or UCIe.
The paradigm shift toward 3D chip stacking and universal chiplet design is bound to lead to innovations in the future.