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Vision Pro's R1 Chip Anticipates Future Apple Silicon Chip Systems


Vision Pro's R1 Chip

iFixit, the company that sells spare parts and known to enthusiasts for its disassembly guides for various products, has also disassembled a Vision Pro and on X (formerly Twitter) some hardware specialists have pointed out that the R1 chip shows lines that divide the chip into subgroups.

The R1 chip could be Apple's first to take advantage of packaging technologies that allow various elements to be combined into smaller chiplets or tiles, where I/O, SRAM and power circuitry are fabricated on the base die and the logic chiplets or tiles high-performance devices are integrated on the top level.

In classic components – such as the Mx series chips (M1, M2, etc.), the design is monolithic: a block that integrates the different elements (CPU, GPU, NPU, memory controller, etc.); for a few years now some processor manufacturers such as AMD have started to adopt the chiplet concept on the mainstream market, combining different chips in a common package (the Ryzens exploit technologies of this type): a block dedicated to memory management, a more to I/O, more blocks to CPU cores, etc.

Vision Pro's R1 Chip

Among the advantages of this approach, the possibility of producing smaller elements without possible errors from a single large package; furthermore, each chiplet can be designed and manufactured separately, even using different technologies and production processes, allowing for versatile, complex, scalable and flexible solutions.

Apple could adopt the chiplet concept on future Apple Silicon, with advantages in terms of modularity and also in terms of resource use and cost reduction.

Since March 2022, companies such as AMD, ARM and Intel have been working on a universal chiplet standard, a system that could allow chiplets from different companies to be mixed and matched, creating next-generation on-chip systems. The chiplet design is nothing new but has made a comeback as recent technological advances increasingly struggle to keep pace with the statement known as Moore's Law.

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