The direct consequence of the US trade sanctions on Chinese chip manufacturing companies is the fact that the latter cannot access the most advanced processes to make their processors. This means that they have to look for alternatives to make more complex chips. This is why 3D chips are being made at Huawei.
A chip in 3D is nothing more than several chips that are stacked one on top of the other and that can be of a different nature among them, but that communicate through a vertical interface. Today the vast majority of memories in SSD units are of this type, we also have the case of the different generations of HBM memory and the case of AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D that combines an SRAM memory chip with a processor placed one on top of the other.
The use of this type of processor has grown in recent years in order to solve a series of explicit problems, such as the energy cost of internal communication and when manufacturing chips with new chip manufacturing processes or nodes. However, it also serves to increase the complexity of chips of old designs without the need to commit to a new node. Something that 3D NAND manufacturers have been doing for some time and that Huawei plans to do in order not to be left behind in the technological race. Especially with regard to the development of laptops with ARM processor.
Why will Huawei make 3D chips?
First of all, we must clarify that the Chinese multinational is not going to develop any graphics chip and, therefore, it is not going to enter the fray against AMD, Intel and NVIDIA. What we are referring to is the construction of processors made up of multiple chips stacked on top of each other. A growing trend in the design of microprocessors for all types of computers in recent times.
The idea of Huawei 3D chip It is just a direct effect ofto american commercial geopolitics. Not having access to TSMC nodes for the manufacture of its chips, it has had to opt for manufacturers within China, the most advanced being SMIC, who are also banned from obtaining all the necessary machinery to make chips with smaller transistors. . The consequence? If you want to get more advanced processors need more transistors. The problem comes when we consider that the larger a chip is, the more potential faults it can have in its manufacture and it reaches lower clock speeds.
Huawei and SMIC’s method of interconnecting their chips in 3D is what is called overlapping. It consists of adding an interconnection layer in each of the two parts that make up the 3D chip. At the top chip is located at the bottom. Whereas, the lower chip is at the top as it is face down. In this way, Huawei’s 3D chips they avoid costly pathways through silicon.