Intel Discloses Packaging Process

"Bumpless Build-Up Layer" or BBUL packaging "grows" the package around the silicon, resulting in thinner, higher-performance chips that consume less power

October 8, 2001

2 Min Read

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Intel Corporation today announced its researchers have developed a new semiconductor packaging technology that will help the company build processors with more than 1 billion transistors that will be 10 times faster than the fastest processors today. The technology, called "Bumpless Build-Up Layer" or BBUL packaging, takes a completely different approach to packaging from the current practice of manufacturing the processor die separately and later bonding it to the package. Instead, BBUL "grows" the package around the silicon, resulting in thinner, higher-performance processors that consume less power. Intel believes it can begin making BBUL packaging available for commercial products in the next five to six years. "In order to deliver the applications that could once only be considered science fiction, we will need to create processors that are much more powerful than those we have today," said Dr. Gerald Marcyk, director of Intel's Components Research Lab. "The development of BBUL technology will allow us to deliver the performance of billion-transistor processors to computers users. It is something that current packaging technology just can't handle." BBUL packaging is thinner and lighter than today's chip packaging options. It can also support multiple chips in the same package. The role of packaging is to "house" the processor die, supply it with electricity and act as the interface between the silicon and the rest of the computer system while protecting it from dirt and physical dangers. Intel uses various forms of packaging to help tailor its processors for specific applications, including using smaller, thinner packages for mobile PCs, or packages with built-in reliability and manageability features for servers. Packaging also plays a key role in delivering processor performance, since it takes data into and out of the silicon core at ever-faster speeds. "If packaging technology does not keep up with the pace of silicon development, it will become a limiter to processor performance," Marcyk said. "Putting fast silicon into slow packages would be analogous to putting a Formula One engine on a bicycle and expecting it to run like a race car." Intel Corp.

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