UPDATED. 2024-07-17 07:31 (수)
Fadu to own and sell CXL switch chip made by subsidiary Eeum
Fadu to own and sell CXL switch chip made by subsidiary Eeum
  • JY Han
  • 승인 2024.07.11 07:22
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Chip to launch in 2026, timed to CXL 3.0 launch
Eeum CEO Jinki Han Image: TheElec
Eeum CEO Jinki Han Image: TheElec

Fadu will have sales ownership of the Compute Express Link (CXL) switch chip developed by its subsidiary Eeum.

Eeum CEO Jinki Han said the subsidiary will define the hardware model and architecture of the chip.

Then, Fadu will takeover the resister transfer level coding and oversee production and sales of the chip, Han said.

Eeum expects to launch the chip when the 3.0 version is commercialized and the specs of the 4.0 version are finalized, which will be sometime during the second half of 2026, the CEO said.

However the pair will share profits, burden the cost, and which foundry to use has yet to be decided, he added.

CXL is a PCIe, high-speed interconnect standard that allows for super-fast data transfer between the CPU, memory, and GPU in data centers. The related consortium was formed in March 2019 and its members include Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

CXL is being touted as potentially game-changing for data centers for three reasons: bandwidth, flexibility, and scalability. 

A dual-channel DDR5 DRAM offers a bandwidth of 51.2GB per second, while CXL 2.0 PCIe 5.0 will deliver 64GB. CXL can distribute memory capacity between heterogeneous chips (CPU, GPU, FPGA) for smoother data transfer. And unlike DDR5 DRAM modules that are limited by how many slots there are in the mainboard, CXL, through memory sharing and switching can connect more memory modules.

For CXL to be realized, CPUs, GPUs, FPGA, DRAMs, and NAND that supports the standard is required. In a data center, where there are large number of memory chips, CXL switch chip is needed for the smooth scaling, sharing, distributing, and transferring of data. Eeum collaborating with parent company Fadu to develop such a switch chip.

Broadcom and Nvidia’s Mellanox are also developing the technology. Astera Labs was listed on Nasdaq in March on the back of its CXL high-speed interconnect solutions. The company’s solutions have already been verified to be compatible with Intel’s server chips.

Eeum’s Han said South Korea has led the development of solid-state drives (SSD) and Fadu also has its controller design technologies. This means Eeum and Fadu can be competitive in this space, he said.

The CXL market is expected to open in earnest with PCIe 6.0-based CXL 3.0 (which will offer a 256GB bandwidth per second). Intel’s Diamond Rapids launching next year will also support CXL 3.0. Eeum and Fadu seemed to have timed their launch to match these developments.

Meanwhile, Fadu is also developing its own CXL memory chip solution that utilizes both DRAM and NAND. This can likely be sold with the switch chip.

Eeum, besides the switch chip, is also planning to foster its own CXL software ecosystem. It recently started an open-source project called Open CXL that assists in CXL simulation without hardware. A variety of systems with different environments can be made using a CXL switch and Eeum is aiming to earn profits from software that allows this, Han said.

Han founded Eeum in October last year in Silicon Valley. He previously worked at Samsung and SK Hynix, working on memory. Fadu invested 5.4 billion won in Eeum in October and an additional 6.3 billion won last month.

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