AMD says chiplet design can cut costs by more than half
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Since the launch of its Zen architecture, AMD has consistently undercut Intel from a dollars-per-core perspective. AMD's value oriented approach can be attributed to many factors, but none of them are more relevant than the novel "chiplet" design AMD uses in manufacturing their latest Zen 2 chips. The idea is to take several smaller dies manufactured on different processes, and put them together on one package to improve yields and thereby reduce costs. But reduce them by how much? Well by more than half in some cases.
In a recent talk at ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference), AMD revealed that on TSMC's 7nm process the cost to manufacture a 16-core monolithic die (e.g. the Ryzen 9 3950X) is more than double that of a multi-die CPU. As one can imagine, the lower the core counts, the lower the savings, but even on the low end of what AMD presented, an 8-core CPU split between a 7nm CPU die and a 14nm I/O die can reduce the cost by approximately 25%.
Following AMD's lead, Intel will be taking chiplets in a new direction with their stacked Foveros design announced back in 2018. While Zen 2 has not seen a release in laptops yet, the 4000 series is confirmed to used the latest architecture, and information is coming more and more frequently. Notably, these laptop CPUs do not use the chiplet design, so it will be interesting to see how these monolithic variants fair again their chiplet counterparts.
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