SK Hynix Unveils First-Ever 12-Layer HBM3 Chips To Feed Memory-Hungry GPUs

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SK hynix has announced the world’s first 12-layer HBM3 product featuring capacities of 24GB, representing a 50% increase in memory capacity over the company's previous 12GB products. This will greatly accelerate the growth of storage capacity for enterprise GPUs and boost application performance in many HPC workloads that use gobs of GPU video memory. SK Hynix has already delivered samples to its customers for performance evaluation purposes, so we should see graphics cards equipped with these new 24GB memory chips in the not-too-distant future.

This new 12-layer design represents one of the highest capacities that is expected out of the HBM3 memory standard. When HBM3 arrived a year ago, JEDEC reported that DRAM stacking could get as high as 16 layers in the future with capacities of up to 32GB.

HBM is an embedded memory solution that sits directly on a GPU and utilizes through-silicon vias (TSVs) to stack memory chips on top of each other, similar to AMD’s 3D-VCache technology. This allows HBM to be a lot more efficient, since the chips are adjacent to the GPU die itself and is an advantage over other memory types like GDDR6/G6X where the memory ICs are installed on the graphics card’s PCB.


The new 12-layer design was accomplished by improving the process efficiency and performance stability of the HBM3 with Advanced Mass Reflow Molded technology, while simultaneously reducing the thickness of the chip’s TSV’s by 40% to achieve the same stack height level as the previous 16GB products. In essence, the HBM modules retain a similar form factor as their predecessors but feature double the memory capacity.

This new tech will be greatly beneficial in the datacenter world, where enterprise GPUs require loads and heaps of GPU memory to run extremely demanding computational workloads, such as simulation or machine learning. SK hynix states it is seeing a growing demand for its memory products thanks to new demand in the AI-powered chatbot industry.

SK hynix says its new HBM3 modules should come to market starting in H2 2022.