Broadcom shows a gargantuan AI chip — XPU could be the world's largest chip built for a consumer AI company

(Image credit: Patrick Moorhead/Twitter)

Broadcom has demonstrated that it is perhaps the world's largest processor. But for what application? When we visited TSMC's events, we were always shown a deck of multi-chiplet processors that use the company's chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging technology and feature near the reticle limit (858mm^2, 26 mm by 33 mm) compute chiplets. We cannot take photos of the deck, but there are certainly processors that grab attention. One of those devices comes from Broadcom, and it has been shown at the company's recent investor events.

For most observers, Broadcom is a networking and telecommunications giant, but the company also has a significant custom chip design business. For those unfamiliar with this unit of Broadcom, Google is one of the company's most prominent clients in terms of contract chip design.

However, just like TSMC, Broadcom does not announce its clients. For those who want to rekindle its short-term innovations, Broadcom has a list of them in its recent press release. What it does to impress is demonstrate its vast accomplishments to its investors. These are indeed vast, as observed by our friend and colleague Patrick Moorhead of Moor's strategies market analysis company.

"Here is another fun one," Patrick Moorhead wrote in an X post. "The guy who is smiling Frank Ostojic [who] runs Broadcom's custom silicon group. He should be smiling as he announced that he has a third XPU design from a large 'consumer AI company.'

Broadcom officially brands those chips as XPUs so as not to disclose their applications. Meanwhile, the use of high-bandwidth memory pretty much shows its target usage, which might well be artificial intelligence or hardcore AI-infused network switching.

"To the right is a close up of the XPU," Moorhead added. "You can see the two compute units on the center and all the HBM to the left and right. A full up custom SoC with lots and lots of compute, HBM, very high speed intra chip connectivity and, as you would expect, the highest performance external networking."

Developing a chiplet of this scale (i.e., near the reticle size) is already an achievement. Yielding it to a proper level is another dimension of achievement, and it looks like Broadcom's foundry partner, most likely TSMC, has accomplished it as well. Now, it is time for software to catch up and use this processor's might.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Broadcom has demonstrated that it is perhaps the world's largest processor.

    Except for the Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine...and the 2nd and 3rd incarnations of it.
  • bit_user
    And yet the Broadcom-based Raspberry Pi 5 still lags the Rockchip RK3588 in features, efficiency, performance, and time-to-market (arriving ~1 year later). Plus, ARM's Mali iGPUs run circles around Broadcom's VideoCore, which is the main piece of custom IP that Broadcom designed for it.
  • Mpablo87
    Large size means nothing to Processor ! !