Multi-chip module

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A ceramic multi-chip module containing four POWER5 processor dies (center) and four 36 MB L3 cache dies (periphery). Power5.jpg
A ceramic multi-chip module containing four POWER5 processor dies (center) and four 36 MB L3 cache dies (periphery).

A multi-chip module (MCM) is generically an electronic assembly (such as a package with a number of conductor terminals or "pins") where multiple integrated circuits (ICs or "chips"), semiconductor dies and/or other discrete components are integrated, usually onto a unifying substrate, so that in use it can be treated as if it were a larger IC. [1] Other terms, such as "hybrid" or "hybrid integrated circuit", also refer to MCMs. The individual ICs that make up an MCM are known as Chiplets [2] . Intel and AMD are using MCMs to improve performance and reduce costs, as splitting a large IC into smaller ICs allows for more ICs per wafer, and improved yield. [3] [4]

Lead (electronics) connecting wire or pad within an electronic device; electrical connection consisting of a length of wire or metal pad (SMD) that comes from a device

In electronics, a lead is an electrical connection consisting of a length of wire or a metal pad that is designed to connect two locations electrically. Leads are used for many purposes, including: transfer of power; testing of an electrical circuit to see if it is working, using a test light or a multimeter; transmitting information, as when the leads from an electrocardiograph are attached to a person's body to transmit information about their heart rhythm; and sometimes to act as a heatsink. The tiny leads coming off through-hole electronic components are also often called "pins"; in ball grid array packages, they are in form of small spheres, and are therefore called "balls".

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Hybrid integrated circuit miniaturized electronic circuit combining different semiconductor devices and passive components on a substrate

A hybrid integrated circuit (HIC), hybrid microcircuit, hybrid circuit or simply hybrid is a miniaturized electronic circuit constructed of individual devices, such as semiconductor devices and passive components, bonded to a substrate or printed circuit board (PCB). A PCB having components on a Printed Wiring Board (PWB) is not considered a hybrid circuit according to the definition of MIL-PRF-38534.



Multi-chip modules come in a variety of forms depending on the complexity and development philosophies of their designers. These can range from using pre-packaged ICs on a small printed circuit board (PCB) meant to mimic the package footprint of an existing chip package to fully custom chip packages integrating many chip dies on a high density interconnection (HDI) substrate.

Printed circuit board Board to support and connect electronic components

A printed circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components or electrical components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from one or more sheet layers of copper laminated onto and/or between sheet layers of a non-conductive substrate. Components are generally soldered onto the PCB to both electrically connect and mechanically fasten them to it.

Multi-Chip Module packaging is an important facet of modern electronic miniaturization and micro-electronic systems. MCMs are classified according to the technology used to create the HDI substrate.

Chip stack MCMs

A relatively new development in MCM technology is the so-called "chip-stack" package. [5] Certain ICs, memories in particular, have very similar or identical pinouts when used multiple times within systems. A carefully designed substrate can allow these dies to be stacked in a vertical configuration making the resultant MCM's footprint much smaller (albeit at the cost of a thicker or taller chip). Since area is more often at a premium in miniature electronics designs, the chip-stack is an attractive option in many applications such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). With the use of a 3D integrated circuit and a thinning process, as many as ten dies can be stacked to create a high capacity SD memory card. [6]

Personal digital assistant

A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widespread adoption of highly capable smartphones, in particular those based on iOS and Android.

Examples of multi-chip technologies

IBM American multinational technology and consulting corporation

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) and was renamed "International Business Machines" in 1924.

Bubble memory type of non-volatile computer memory

Bubble memory is a type of non-volatile computer memory that uses a thin film of a magnetic material to hold small magnetized areas, known as bubbles or domains, each storing one bit of data. The material is arranged to form a series of parallel tracks that the bubbles can move along under the action of an external magnetic field. The bubbles are read by moving them to the edge of the material where they can be read by a conventional magnetic pickup, and then rewritten on the far edge to keep the memory cycling through the material. In operation, bubble memories are similar to delay line memory systems.

Intel American semiconductor company

Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip manufacturer based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung Electronics, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel ranked No. 46 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

3D multi-chip modules

See also

A system in package (SiP) or system-in-a-package is a number of integrated circuits enclosed in a single chip carrier package. The SiP performs all or most of the functions of an electronic system, and is typically used inside a mobile phone, digital music player, etc. Dies containing integrated circuits may be stacked vertically on a substrate. They are internally connected by fine wires that are bonded to the package. Alternatively, with a flip chip technology, solder bumps are used to join stacked chips together. Systems-in-package are like systems-on-chip (SoC) but less tightly integrated and not on a single semiconductor die.

Chip carrier one of several kinds of surface mount technology packages for integrated circuits

In electronics, a chip carrier is one of several kinds of surface-mount technology packages for integrated circuits. Connections are made on all four edges of a square package; Compared to the internal cavity for mounting the integrated circuit, the package overall size is large.

A single chip module (SCM) is a chip package with only one die. Contrast with multi-chip modules, where multiple dies are placed on a chip package.

Related Research Articles

Advanced Micro Devices American multinational semiconductor company

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is an American multinational semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, California that develops computer processors and related technologies for business and consumer markets. While initially it manufactured its own processors, the company later outsourced its manufacturing, a practice known as fabless, after GlobalFoundries was spun off in 2009. AMD's main products include microprocessors, motherboard chipsets, embedded processors and graphics processors for servers, workstations, personal computers and embedded system applications.

Opteron trademark

Opteron is AMD's x86 former server and workstation processor line, and was the first processor which supported the AMD64 instruction set architecture. It was released on April 22, 2003, with the SledgeHammer core (K8) and was intended to compete in the server and workstation markets, particularly in the same segment as the Intel Xeon processor. Processors based on the AMD K10 microarchitecture were announced on September 10, 2007, featuring a new quad-core configuration. The most-recently released Opteron CPUs are the Piledriver-based Opteron 4300 and 6300 series processors, codenamed "Seoul" and "Abu Dhabi" respectively. In January 2016, the first ARMv8-A based Opteron SoC was released.

Northbridge (computing) chip on a computer motherboard

A northbridge or host bridge is one of the two chips in the core logic chipset architecture on a PC motherboard, the other being the southbridge. Unlike the southbridge, northbridge is connected directly to the CPU via the front-side bus (FSB) and is thus responsible for tasks that require the highest performance. The northbridge, also known as Memory Controller Hub, is usually paired with a southbridge. In systems where they are included, these two chips manage communications between the CPU and other parts of the motherboard, and constitute the core logic chipset of the PC motherboard.

Land grid array type of surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits

The land grid array (LGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits (ICs) that is notable for having the pins on the socket rather than the integrated circuit. An LGA can be electrically connected to a printed circuit board (PCB) either by the use of a socket or by soldering directly to the board.

In the fields of digital electronics and computer hardware, multi-channel memory architecture is a technology that increases the data transfer rate between the DRAM memory and the memory controller by adding more channels of communication between them. Theoretically this multiplies the data rate by exactly the number of channels present. Dual-channel memory employs two channels. The technique goes back as far as the 1960s having been used in IBM System/360 Model 91 and in CDC 6600.

Transistor count the number of transistors in a device

The transistor count is the number of transistors on an integrated circuit (IC). Transistor count is the most common measure of IC complexity, although there are caveats. For instance, the majority of transistors are contained in the cache memories in modern microprocessors, which consist mostly of the same memory cell circuits replicated many times. The rate at which transistor counts have increased generally follows Moore's law, which observed that the transistor count doubles approximately every two years. All microprocessor, graphics processing unit (GPU) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices listed below are fabricated with MOSFET technology.

AMD Accelerated Processing Unit A brand of combined CPU-GPU chips by Advanced Micro Devices

The AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), formerly known as Fusion, is the marketing term for a series of 64-bit microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), designed to act as a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single die.

AMD FX series of high-end AMD microprocessors

AMD FX is a series of high-end AMD microprocessors for personal computers debuted in 2011, claimed as AMD's first native 8-core desktop processor. The line was introduced with the Bulldozer microarchitecture at launch, and was then succeeded by its derivative Piledriver in 2012.

Heterogeneous computing refers to systems that use more than one kind of processor or cores. These systems gain performance or energy efficiency not just by adding the same type of processors, but by adding dissimilar coprocessors, usually incorporating specialized processing capabilities to handle particular tasks.

Zen (microarchitecture) AMD processor microarchitecture

Zen is the codename for a computer processor microarchitecture from AMD, and was first used with their Ryzen series of CPUs in February 2017. The first Zen-based preview system was demonstrated at E3 2016, and first substantially detailed at an event hosted a block away from the Intel Developer Forum 2016. The first Zen-based CPUs codenamed "Summit Ridge" reached the market in early March 2017, Zen-derived Epyc server processors launched in June 2017 and Zen-based APUs arrived in November 2017.

Zen 2 AMDs processor architecture

Zen 2 is the codename for a successor of AMD's Zen and Zen+ microarchitectures due to be fabricated on the 7 nanometer node from TSMC with product sampling planned for late 2018, followed by commercial release in July 2019, powering the third generation of Ryzen processors, known as Ryzen 3000 for the mainstream desktop chips, and Threadripper 3000 for high-end desktop systems. At Computex 2019, AMD announced a product release date of July 7, 2019.

Ryzen is a brand of x86-64 microprocessors designed and marketed by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) for desktop, mobile and embedded platforms based on the Zen microarchitecture and its successors. It consists of central processing units marketed for mainstream, enthusiast and workstation segments and accelerated processing units (APUs) marketed for mainstream and entry-level segments and embedded applications.

Zen+ is the codename for AMD's successor to the Zen microarchitecture, first released in April 2018, powering the second generation of Ryzen processors, known as Ryzen 2000 for mainstream desktop systems, and Threadripper 2000 for high-end desktop setups.

Epyc AMDs brand of server processors

Epyc is a brand of x86-64 microprocessors designed and marketed by AMD based on the company's Zen microarchitecture specifically targeted for server and embedded system markets. It was introduced in June 2017. Epyc processors share the same microarchitecture as its regular desktop-grade counterparts but have enterprise-graded features such as higher core counts, more PCI Express lanes, support for larger amounts of RAM, and larger cache memory. It also supports multi-chip and dual-socket system configurations through the Infinity Fabric interchip interconnect.

Socket SP3 is a land grid array CPU socket designed by AMD supporting its Zen-based Epyc server processors, launched on June 20, 2017.

The AMD Platform Security Processor (PSP), officially known as AMD Secure Technology, is a trusted execution environment subsystem incorporated since about 2013 into AMD microprocessors. According to an AMD developer's guide, the subsystem is "responsible for creating, monitoring and maintaining the security environment" and "its functions include managing the boot process, initializing various security related mechanisms, and monitoring the system for any suspicious activity or events and implementing an appropriate response." Critics worry it can be used as a backdoor and is a security concern. AMD has denied requests to open source the code that runs on the PSP.


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