Korea’s SK hynix Successfully Develops HBM3 chips for Data Centres

SK hynix Inc. has announced that it has become the first in the industry to successfully develop the High Bandwidth Memory 3, the world’s best-performing DRAM chips.

SK hynix is top tier semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (“DRAM”), flash memory chips (“NAND flash”) and CMOS Image Sensors (“CIS”), which are used widely by data centres. HBM3, the fourth generation of the HBM technology with a combination of multiple DRAM chips vertically connected, is a high value product that innovatively raises the data processing rate, the company said in a statement.

Post the COVID-19 pandemic, technology usag has surged across all walks of life and this has fuelled a huge need for data centres, which is the backbone of all tech applications. These chips go into the servers used in data centres.

The latest development, which follows the start of mass production of HBM2E in July last year, is expected to help consolidate the company’s leadership in the market. SK hynix was also the first in the industry to start mass production of HBM2E. The previous three generations are HBM, HBM2 and HBM2E, which is an update to the HBM2 specification with increased bandwidth and capacities. SK hynix’s HBM3 is not only the fastest DRAM in the world, but also comes with the biggest capacity and significantly improved level of quality.

The latest product can process up to 819GB (Gigabyte) per second, meaning that 163 FHD (full-HD) movies (5GB each) can be transmitted in a single second. This represents a 78 per cent increase in the data-processing speed compared with the HBM2E, SK hynix said.

It also corrects data (bit) errors with the help of the built-in on-die error-correction code, significantly improving the reliability of the product. SK hynix’s HBM3 will be provided in two capacity types of 24GB – the industry’s biggest — and 16GB. 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, before vertically stacking 12 chips using the through silicon via technology.

This is an interconnecting technology that links the upper and lower chips with electrode that vertically passes through thousands of fine holes on DRAM chips. HBM3 is expected to be mainly adopted by high-performance data centers as well as machine learning platforms that enhance the level of artificial intelligence and super computing performance used to conduct climate change analysis and drug development.

“Since its launch of the world’s first HBM DRAM, SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry’s first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market,” said Seon-yong Cha, Executive Vice President in charge of the DRAM development. “We will continue our efforts to solidify our leadership in the premium memory market and help boost the values of our customers by providing products that are in line with the ESG management standards.”

Venkatesh Ganesh

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