AMD HBM High Bandwidth Memory Technology Unveiled

AMD unveils a new memory technology that we will see incorporated in its video cards that we will see at some point in the future. It is a true departure from our current GDDR ways of doing things and makes some huge promises as well. HBM promises around 4X the memory bandwidth in a smaller footprint than one GDDR5 chip.

We were lucky enough to get to spend an hour or so with Joe Macri, AMD Vice President and JEDEC Chairman, and discus new High Bandwidth Memory technology.

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We will be seeing this new technology used widely by AMD and will likely see it on an upcoming flagship video card first.

HBM is a departure from what we have seen in the past where memories have been pushed to be "faster." This HBM approach is simple in that it is a "wide and slow" solution that will produce great benefits. Gone is the old 32 bit bus, and it is replaced by a 1024 bit bus. The "slow" part of the trade off is that these HBM stacks will not run at clocks faster than 500MHz, but obviously, with such a wider bus, we should see bandwidth of over 100GB/s per stack. Also these stacks of memory run at lower power as well.

These HBM stacks are built on a standard organic package substrate. The memory "chips" are less than 100 microns thick. It is worth pointing out that most of the slide below are NOT to scale. The HBM stacks will not tower above an adjacent GPU as shown.

No special coding is needed for game developers as nothing changes for them, except the possibilities of getting more bandwidth to the GPU.

AMD sees this technology being used in a wide variety of products, not just high end video cards.

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Joe Macri did close our discussion mentioning that while what we see here with Gen I HBM is shown with four stacks of DRAM, it could possibly go higher as production methods of HBM became more precise, but they simply did not know yet. Gen II HBM is targeting eight physical stacks with possibilities as high as sixteen stacks.

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