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Jul 19th, 2013
Hybrid Memory Cube nears engineering sample milestone
The Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC), one of the first device integrating 3D technology and multi-dies stacking is announced in engineering mode for this summer and for high volume manufacturing next year.
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Engineering samples of The Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) are expected this summer, with high volume manufacturing coming next year. It will be one of the first high volume devices employing 3D integration and through silicon vias (TSVs), employing a bottom logic layer and 4-8 stacked DRAM layers.

The HMC is the result of a consortium formed in late 2011 by Micron, Samsung, Altera, Xilinx and Open-Silicon to define an industry interface specification for developers, manufacturers and architects of high-performance memory technology. The consortium has grown to 110 members, including SK Hynix, IBM, ARM and Intel. Analysts are projecting the TSV-enabled 3D market to be a $40billion market by 2017, or roughly about 10% of the global chip business.

We caught up with Micron’s Scott Graham, General Manager, Hybrid Memory Cube, at Semicon West. “We’re very close to delivering our engineering samples this summer to our lead customers that are taking the technology into their system designs,Graham said.  The lead applications are in high performance computing, such as supercomputers, as well as the higher end networking space. “Those will be the early adopters. As we move forward in time, we’ll see that technology evolve as costs come down for TSVs and manufacturing technology, it will enter into future space where traditional DDR type of memory has resided. Beyond DDR4, we can certainly see this of memory technology being a mainstream memory,” Graham said.

Since the HMC is an open specification in terms of the architecture of the device, it will be up to each memory manufacturer to decide how it might be customized and manufactured. “The way it’s done is we source the substrate, we source the logic layer and then we bring those in-house and we complete the finishing of those logic wafers as well as all the slicing, dicing, stacking, assembly and test,” Graham said. “What we end up providing for the customer is a known good cube, or known good piece of memory, just like we would if it was a DDR device or wide I/O device,” he said. He added that the HMC is designed so that it has not only the repair capability during manufacturing but also out in the field. “It’s very flexible and very robust, so reliability is very high with this device,” he said.

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