SK hynix boasts of its "industry first" HBM3 development

by Mark Tyson on 20 October 2021, 11:11

Tags: SK hynix

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Today, SK hynix announced that it has achieved an industry first by successfully developing HBM3. This fourth gen HBM (in the wake of HBM, HBM2, and HBM2E) is not just "the fastest DRAM in the world," but delivers the greatest capacities seen, and will excel in reliability.

"SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry's first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market," said SK hynix EVP of DRAM development, Seon-yong Cha. One of the key technologies that enabled the successful development of HBM3 is the increasingly familiar TSV or Through Silicon Via interconnect technology.

TSV is used in the fabrication of HBM3 to vertically stack multiple DRAM chips, and simultaneously provide excellent bandwidth due to the numerous short connections between ICs that this technique realises.

SK hynix says that it is kicking off HBM3 production with two chip capacities, 16GB and 24GB. It explains that "for the 24GB product, SK hynix engineers ground the height of a DRAM chip to approximately 30 micrometer (μm, 10-6m), equivalent to a third of an A4 paper's thickness". A 24GB chip consists of 12 such layers connected using TSV technology.

Some preliminary performance numbers were shared by the Korean memory maker, to help enthusiasts get a grip on the latest HBM generation. According to SK hynix, its HBM3 DRAM can achieve 819GB/s. In layman's terms, that means it could theoretically transfer 163 FHD (full-HD) movies (5GB each) in a single second. Sadly, SK hynix didn't share any floppy disk, double-decker bus, or football pitch comparisons today. HBM2E DRAM from SK hynix was capable of about 460GB/s.

HBM3 isn't just about a speed increase; the spec includes built-in on-die error-correction code, which SK hynix asserts "significantly improving the reliability of the product."

The performance and reliability of the latest gen HBM is going to be adopted first by super computers, high-performance data centres, and machine learning platforms, reckons SK hynix. In other words, don't expect it to feature in your next GPU, phone, or games console.

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