SK hynix Announces Mass-Production of its High-Speed DRAM, ‘HBM2E’

July 03, 2020 by Gary Elinoff

The new device supports a staggeringly high 460 gigabyte per second bandwidth.

SK hynix has announced that it has now begun full-scale mass production of its new high-speed DRAM, which it has dubbed the HBM2E. 

The device, initially announced last year, supports 1,024 I/O points, each delivering 3.6 gigabits per second, to achieve its 460 gigabyte per second of total bandwidth capacity.

The unit achieves its density of 16 gigabytes through stacking and combining eight 16 gigabit chips on top of each other, creating a three-dimensional memory array. The combination is effected by employing  Silicon Via (TSV) technology.


What is TSV Technology?

Through silicon via technology (TSV), when compared to existing packaging technologies, make up to a 50% decrease in power consumption possible. Of equal importance, TSV also means up to a 30% decrease in device size.

Through silicon via technology (TSV) is an advanced interconnection methodology used to connect each layer of a multilayer DRAM chip through thousands of very narrow holes in each separate chip die. They replace flip chips and wire-bond techniques for building three-dimensional packages.

Through these many fine holes, power, data, and commands are delivered. The column-shaped pathways penetrate the entire silicon wafer, passing through each DRAM chip stacked on a buffer chip.


SK hynix HMB2E high-speed DRAM.

SK hynix's HBM2E high-speed DRAM. Image credited to SK hynix


The Need for Speed

SK hynix’s HBM2E’s 460 gigabyte per second bandwidth is enough to transmit 124 full-length high-speed movies, sized at 3.7GB each, in one second. Impressive as that sounds, tomorrow’s technology will need every bit of it. 

Applications for the unit’s tremendous capacity include next-generation AI systems, including deep learning accelerators and other types of high-performance computing applications. The HBM2E is expected to be utilized by the upcoming Exascale supercomputers. These are a high-performance computing system that will perform in the range of a quintillion (1018) calculations every second. 

It is expected that Exascale computers will prove to be essential for continued progress into space exploration and that they will lead the charge in next-generation basic and applied scientific fields. These include research into bio-medics, AI, and climate change. 

As per Jonghoon Oh, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at SK hynix. “With the full-scale mass-production of HBM2E, we will continue to strengthen our presence in the premium memory market and lead the fourth industrial revolution.” 


The HBM2E Standard

In addition to the name that SK hynix has assigned to its new chip, HBM2E is a standard published by JEDIC. The interface, with it’s multiple, independent data channels, is described, as are specifications for the eight die memory stack. HBM2E is an update to the older HBM2 specification.


Around the Industry

Samsung already produces its Flashbolt HBM2E, which offers performance specifications similar to those of the SK hynix device. With SK hynix’s announcement, there is now more than one producer for this type of equipment, which will undoubtedly give OEMs the confidence inspired by a second source for a component that will be very critical in any device of which it is a part.

Do you design devices that rely on ultra-fast memory speed, and will a new second source for HBME2 memory encourage you to specify it in your future designs? Share your thoughts in the comments below.