Samsung has begun mass production of 4GB memory components using the second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) interface, which it claims can offer seven times the performance of existing DRAM chips for applications such as parallel computing and graphics.
The newly introduced 4GB HBM2 memory is claimed by Samsung as an industry first, and is intended to deliver a boost in memory performance compared with current memory technologies such as DDR4 or GDDR5, which are typically found in new PC systems and graphics accelerator cards respectively.
HBM has been designed to offer higher bandwidth in a substantially smaller form factor than existing memory standards. It achieves this by stacking up to eight separate silicon dies on top of each other inside the chip package, with a connection to the host processor via a very wide 1024-bit interface divided into eight independent channels.
Samsung said that the 4GB HBM2 memory delivers up to 256GBps of bandwidth, which is double that of a first-generation HBM1 DRAM package and more than a seven-fold increase over the 36GBps bandwidth of a typical GDDR5 DRAM chip.
However, the fact that it uses a radically different memory interface to the DDR3 and DDR4 standards commonly seen in PCs and servers means that the HBM2 memory is likely to be seen only in specialised hardware in the near future, such as high performance computing (HPC), advanced graphics hardware and network equipment including switches.
"By mass producing next-generation HBM2 DRAM we can contribute much more to the rapid adoption of next-generation HPC systems by global IT companies," said Samsung's senior vice president for memory marketing, Sewon Chun.
The HBM standard supports up to eight silicon dies in a package, but the new 4GB HBM2 part comprises just four 8Gbit dies stacked atop a base buffer die, all connected by Through-Silicon Via holes.
Samsung plans to follow up with an 8GB HBM2 DRAM package later this year. The firm said that by using these in graphics cards, vendors will be see a space saving of more than 95 percent compared with using GDDR5 DRAM, enabling them to offer solutions targeting more compact devices that require high-level graphics computing capabilities.
The firm will ramp up production volumes of HBM2 DRAM parts over the rest of this year to meet an anticipated growth in demand.
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