|Seen are SK hynix's high bandwidth memory (HBM2E) DRAM chips. / Courtesy of SK hynix|
By Baek Byung-yeul
SK hynix and Samsung Electronics are competing to gain the upper hand in the premium DRAM market such as high bandwidth memory (HBM2E) DRAM chips, which are expected to become the next growth engine for memory chipmakers, according to industry officials Tuesday.
SK hynix, the world's second-largest DRAM maker, said Monday it succeeded in developing HBM2E products with the industry's highest bandwidth.
Being produced using advanced semiconductor packaging technology called "Through Silicon Via" (TSV), the HBM2E DRAM chips are used in high-end graphic processor units (GPU), supercomputers and artificial intelligence (AI) systems that require a higher level of memory performance.
Compared to the previous HBM2, the latest product has about 50 percent higher bandwidth and 100 percent additional capacity. It added its HBM2E products support bandwidths over 460 gigabytes per second based on the 3.6 gigabits per second (Gbps) speed performance per pin and has 16-gigabit data capacity.
The announcement came about five months after Samsung, the world's largest DRAM maker, unveiled its HBM2E in the United States in March. Though SK was late, its products have faster data process speed as the Samsung product called Flashbolt can deliver a 3.2 Gbps data transfer speed per pin, supporting a bandwidth up to 410 gigabytes per second.
"SK hynix's HBM2E is an optimal memory solution for the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, supporting high-end GPUs, supercomputers, machine learning and AI systems that require the maximum level of memory performance," the company said.
"SK hynix has established its technological leadership since its world's first HBM release in 2013," said Chun Jun-hyun, head of HBM business strategy of the company. "We will begin mass production in 2020, when the HBM2E market is expected to open up, and continue to strengthen leadership in the premium DRAM market."
Even though the products make up less than 5 percent of the entire DRAM market, chipmakers are counting on the high value-added HBM2E products because they can sell them at higher prices than regular DRAM products.