Eliyan Corp., a startup developing technology for building chiplet-based processors, today announced that it has closed a $40 million funding round.
The Series A round was led by Tracker Capital. Celesta Capital participated as well along with Intel Capital and Micron Ventures.
Eliyan is developing a technology called NuLink that makes it possible to build chiplet-based processors. Such processors feature a modular design that simplifies manufacturing and also provides a number of other benefits.
The traditional approach of manufacturing a chip involves integrating all the chip’s components into a single piece of silicon. In recent years, Intel Corp. and other industry players have begun adopting a different manufacturing method. Instead of producing a processor at once, chipmakers are increasingly opting to produce a processor’s components separately and assemble them later.
“Technology scaling using conventional system on chip (SoC) architectures is hitting the wall, requiring a new approach in how we integrate and manufacture silicon,” said Eliyan co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ramin Farjadrad.
The modular processor manufacturing approach being adopted by chipmakers is known as a chiplet architecture. It provides several advantages over traditional production methods.
When a processor is implemented as a single piece of silicon, a manufacturing flaw can render the entire processor unusable. Producing the processor’s components separately with a chiplet-based approach reduces the impact of manufacturing flaws. If one of a processor’s components contains an issue, the others can still be used.
Chiplet technology also eases manufacturing in other respects. The technology makes it possible to assemble a processor from computing modules made using several different semiconductor fabrication methods. As a result, chipmakers have more flexibility in how they design their products.
Santa Clara, California-based Eliyan’s flagship product, NuLink, is a chiplet interconnect. It can be used to link together the computing modules, or chiplets, that comprise a processor. The startup says that NuLink is significantly faster and more power-efficient than other technologies used for the task.
Eliyan recently taped out NuLink using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.’s five-nanometer chip manufacturing process. A tapeout is one of the last milestones in the product development process before a new chip technology is ready for mass production. According to Eliyan, the five-nanometer version of NuLink demonstrated that the technology can provide twice the bandwidth of competing interconnects using less than half the power.
The startup says that NuLink removes the need for silicon interposers. A silicon interposer is a component that helps move data between computing devices, such as the different computing modules that comprise a processor. By removing the need for the technology, NuLink promises to simplify chip manufacturing and reduce costs.
Eliyan designed NuLink to be compatible with an emerging chip industry standard known as UCIe. The standard, which was introduced in March, aims to establish a common set of technical best practices for chiplet interconnects. UCIe is being developed by a consortium that includes Intel Corp., Arm Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and other major tech firms.
Initial availability of NuLink is slated for the first quarter of 2023. The $40 million funding round that Eliyan announced today will help support the startup’s commercialization efforts.
“Our approach supports and is compliant with the overall industry move toward chiplet-optimized interconnect protocols, including the UCIe standard as well as High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) protocols,” Farjadrad said. “This financial investment by industry leaders and the successful implementation of our design in 5nm validates our strategy and prepares us for broader commercialization efforts.”