Samsung likely to solely supply 12-layer HBM3E to Nvidia as early as September

Daniel Chiang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: JH Han's LinkedIn

Reports suggest that Samsung Electronics may soon become the sole supplier of 12-layer HBM products for Nvidia.

Samsung Electronics is rapidly gaining ground in the high-bandwidth memory (HBM) market. Reports emerged following the recent announcement of its successful development of HBM3E featuring 12 layers of DRAM that it may soon surpass current leaders SK Hynix and Micron to become Nvidia's sole supplier of 12-layer HBM3E.

According to industry sources cited by South Korean media outlet Alpha Biz, Samsung outpaces its competitors in developing 12-layer HBM3E and is poised to become Nvidia's exclusive supplier as early as September 2024. In response, Samsung said that it could not disclose customer information.

In late February 2024, Micron announced the commencement of mass production for its 8-layer HBM3E, and Samsung also unveiled its achievement of successfully developing 36GB 12-layer HBM3E products. Samsung highlighted that its 12-layer HBM3E boasts a higher layer count while maintaining the same height as the 8-layer HBM3E.

With a maximum bandwidth of 1,280GB/s, the 12-layer HBM3E offers performance and capacity exceeding 50% compared to the 8-layer HBM3. Samsung is expected to start volume production of the 12-layer HBM3E later in 2024.

While Samsung has yet to announce the mass production of HBM3E, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang confirmed at the recently-held GTC 2024 that Samsung's HBM is currently undergoing the verification stage. Huang even signed and wrote "Jensen Approved" beside Samsung's 12-layer HBM3E display, sparking speculation that Samsung's HBM3E is highly likely to pass the validation process.

SK Hynix has started officially supplying Nvidia with 8-layer HBM3E in March 2024, yet its 12-layer product is reportedly encountering some process issues. Nevertheless, SK Hynix showcased its 12-layer HBM3E at GTC 2024 and allegedly provided samples to Nvidia as early as February 2024.

SK Hynix said it will leverage hybrid bonding technology to enhance the performance of HBM4. The company plans to stack 16 layers of DRAM to achieve a capacity of 48GB, with data processing speeds expected to be 40% higher than HBM3E and power consumption to be only 70% of HBM3E levels.

During the 2024 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2024) held February 18-21, Samsung unveiled that its upcoming HBM4 boasts an impressive bandwidth of 2TB per second, marking a significant 66% increase compared to the 5th -generation HBM (HBM3E). Additionally, the number of input/output (I/O) has doubled.

SK Hynix and Samsung are anticipated to mass produce HBM4 in 2026, intensifying the competition in their research and development efforts, and drawing considerable attention.