Samsung Electronics announced on January 19 that it has begun mass-producing the world's fastest 4-gigabyte high bandwidth memory (HBM) dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip, more than seven times faster than the previous fastest DRAM.
The new memory chip is composed of four 8GB HBM2 DRAMs that are produced by Samsung Electronics’ 20-nano process, has 4 core chips layered on top of a buffer chip, and has each chip connected by Through Silicon Via (TSV) Bump. The product can send 256GB data per second and is able to process 7 times more of data than 4Gb GDDR5 (9Gbps) that is currently the fastest out of current DRAMs. It can also greatly reduce electricity consumption by doubling the amount of data that is sent per watt.
A single 8Gb HBM2 die contains over 5,000 TSV holes and the holes of the two chips are vertically interconnected, offering a dramatic improvement in data transmission performance compared to typical wire-bonding based packages. It is considered an idealized product for the next-generation ultra-high performance computing system. Moreover, HBM2 DRAM is able to decrease DRAM mount area by more than 95%, compared to GDDR5 that needs to arrange DRAMs on top of a graphic card plane. When a memory chip has a faster speed and larger capacity, it can play ultra-high definition videos without disconnection.
Samsung’s 4GB HBM2 DRAM meets standards for the second-generation DRAM for graphic cards, adopted by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association. Its speed is two times faster than standards for previous generation. It can be widely used in where needs high performance memory chips, such as PCs, gaming devices, super computers and corporate data servers. Existing standards for DRAMs are largely divided into DDR for PCs, LPDDR for mobile devices and GDDR for graphic cards, and GDDR5 is the latest version.
Samsung Electronics began mass production of 128GB DDR4 DRAM modules in October last year, greatly expanding the ultra-high speed memory market. After two months, the company succeeded in mass producing the second-generation HBM DRAM, preoccupying the next-generation graphic DRAM market.
Samsung Electronics is also planning to mass produce an 8GB HBM2 DRAM, which doubles a memory capacity, in the first half of this year in order to dominate the next-generation graphic memory market in advance.
According to industry sources, one of its customers is NVIDIA, a global leading graphic card maker. As other companies, like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), are scrambling to increase the demand of HBM DRAM, Samsung Electronics is highly likely to have more customers.
Currently, SK Hynics is also producing HBM DRAMs so Korean semiconductor companies have a growing presence in the next-generation graphic memory market.