NVIDIA is reportedly in the process of procuring HBM3E samples from SK HYNIX in order to determine its effects on GPU performance. A paywalled report from Digitimes (via Tom’s Hardware) indicates the GPU manufacturer has reached out to the semiconductor company that supplies various types of memory technology, and who currently happens to be the only manufacturer of HBM3E. NVIDIA is likely not the only company that is looking into the impact of the new technology as it could potentially affect AI and high-performance computing (HPC) graphics processing units greatly.
SK Hynix is said to be preparing its evaluation samples toward the end of this year with production to begin shortly after or in 2024. A significant concern around HBM3E, aside from costs, revolves around its controller technology. The new memory is expected to see per-stack bandwidth transfer speeds increase from 819.2 GB/s to 1 TB/s and will be built using the company’s 1b nanometer process. It currently uses the same process for DDR5-6400 and plans to apply it to LPDDR5T chips aimed at mobile or low-power usage.
HBM3 and HBM3E
Even if NVIDIA is reportedly interested in striking a deal with SK Hynix for HBM3E it is unlikely it will be used in consumer GPUs but more likely to be used with a refreshed Hopper GH100 datacenter GPU, or possibly a new HPC GPU. HBM-type memory has had a brief stint in the consumer market when AMD used previous generations of it in its GPUs but it was theorized the high cost cut into profits leading AMD to switch to more traditional GDDR instead. Presently SK Hynix holds over fifty percent of the HBM market and, for now, is the only manufacturer of HBM3. SK Hynix announced HBM3 back in 2021. Recently in April, it announced the development of an industry-first 12-layer 24 GB HBM3 which it had begun sampling to customers.
Per SK Hynix:
“The company succeeded in developing the 24GB package product that increased the memory capacity by 50% from the previous product, following the mass production of the world’s first HBM3 in June last year,” SK Hynix said. “We will be able to supply the new products to the market from the second half of the year, in line with growing demand for premium memory products driven by the AI-powered chatbot industry.”