IBM and Micron Technology announced this week that Micron will begin production of hybrid memory cube (HMC) memory device built using the first commercial CMOS manufacturing technology to employ through-silicon vias (TSVs) at IBM's manufacturing capacities. The companies did not indicate when they plan to start the production and where they intend to use HMCs.
"HMC is a game changer, finally giving architects a flexible memory solution that scales bandwidth while addressing power efficiency. Through collaboration with IBM, Micron will provide the industry's most capable memory offering," said Robert Feurle, vice president of DRAM marketing for Micron.
The hyper memory cube technology uses advanced TSVs [through silicon "vias"] - vertical conduits that electrically connect a stack of individual chips - to combine high-performance logic with Micron's advanced DRAM. HMC prototypes, for example, clock in with bandwidth of 128GB/s. By comparison, current state-of-the-art devices deliver 12.8GB/s. HMC also requires 70% less energy to transfer data while offering a small form factor - just 10% of the footprint of conventional memory.
HMC will enable a new generation of performance in applications ranging from large-scale networking and high-performance computing, to industrial automation and, eventually, consumer products. Unfortunately, neither IBM nor Micron indicate where will the new memory technology used. Perhaps, IBM will install HMCs into some of its products.
HMC parts will be manufactured at IBM's advanced semiconductor fab in East Fishkill, N.Y., using the company's 32nm high-K metal gate process technology. Since the manufacturing process was designed for microprocessors, the cost of the first HMCs will be extreme.
"This is a milestone in the industry move to 3D semiconductor manufacturing. The manufacturing process we are rolling out will have applications beyond memory, enabling other industry segments as well. In the next few years, 3D chip technology will make its way into consumer products, and we can expect to see drastic improvements in battery life and functionality of devices," said Subu Iyer, IBM fellow.