Most of us were introduced to High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) DRAM courtesy of AMD’s Fury family of graphics cards, each of which sports 4GB of HBM. HBM allows Fury GPUs to tout an impressive 512GB/sec of memory bandwidth, but perhaps that just isn’t enough to fuel the next generation of graphics cards in the pipeline.
AMD's Fiji GPU With First Generation Stacked HBM
Samsung is looking to make first generation HBM look decidedly old hat, and has announced that it has begun mass production of HBM2. Samsung’s 4GB HBM2 package is built on a 20 nanometer process (each package contains four 8-gigabit core dies built on top of a buffer die). Each 4GB package is capable of delivering 256GB/sec of bandwidth, which is twice that of first generation HBM DRAM.
If this all sounds familiar, look back to our coverage of NVIDIA’s next generation Pascal GPU architecture. Pascal forthcoming is built on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process and also is expected to incorporate HBM2. High-end consumer-grade Pascal boards will ship with 16GB of HBM2 memory (in four, 4GB packages), offering effective memory bandwidth of 1TB/sec.
"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 Electronics SVP of Memory Marketing, Sewon Chun. “Also, in using our 3D memory technology here, we can more proactively cope with the multifaceted needs of global IT, while at the same time strengthening the foundation for future growth of the DRAM market."
We should also mention that Samsung isn’t stopping at 4GB HBM2 DRAM packages; the electronics giant will also begin producing 8GB during during 2016. The 8GB packages will allow Samsung to achieve a 95 percent space savings compared to traditional GDDR5 DRAM package, allowing for “more optimal solutions for compact devices that require high-level graphics computing capabilities.” Expect to see the 8GB packages in next generation Quadro and FirePro professional graphics cards.
Samsung plans to slowly ramp up its production of HBM2 DRAM this year to meet demand.