Although we’ve been promised a lot from Nvidia concerning its next-generation Pascal GPU, and from AMD concerning its Polaris GPU, part of that will come down to the benefits of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) and its sequel, HBM2. As we saw with AMD’s Fury cards though, insufficient stock of the new standard can lead to GPU shortages, and that’s why it’s good news to hear that Samsung is ramping up HBM 2 manufacturing.
Samsung is now mass producing 4GB HBM2 chips, which will be vitally important for the next generation of GPUs from both big-name makers. The 20nm process each of them employs will stack as many as four 8Gb core dies together, each providing as much as 256Gbps of bandwidth — more than five times what’s offered by similar dies of GDDR5 (as per TechReport).
That’s how much of a performance leap this new memory standard offers.
And that’s why it’s so important that production is high enough to cater to the expected high demand. Both Nvidia and AMD have been hyping the new-generation GPUs as game changers, with explosive performance and much better energy efficiency.
This tech isn’t the end of the road though. Samsung is also talking up possible 8GB chips of HBM2 by the end of the year, which would open up graphics cards with much more memory than even the entire system has to hand. It will also mean much smaller graphics cards, with those modules offering as much as a 95-percent space savings compared to the GDDR5 standard.
Of course it’s not just graphics cards which stand to benefit from the new memory chips. Supercomputers, servers, and data centers could all see big speed boosts and energy efficiency improvements thanks to the new standard.
Considering all of the space savings, it seems very likely that it won’t be long before HBM2 shows up in smartphones and tablets too, making for some very interesting new hardware developments.