Samsung Aquabolt 8GB HBM2 2.4Gbps chips are go

Sheri Evans
January 13, 2018

Samsung has just announced its latest and greatest advancements in HBM2 technology at CES, something the company is calling "Aquabolt". Well, memory speeds are listed in Giga bits per second, so first we have to convert this to Gigabytes per second. As for bandwidth, we're looking at around 300MBps per pin, which on a 1024-bit memory bus should provide around 307GB/sec per package, times 4 bringing us to a insane 1.2TB/sec of memory bandwidth. High end graphics cards, high end laptops, datacenters, you name it and it can probably do it. Samsung Electronics is the only semiconductor firm producing the HBM in the world. The package, dubbed Aquabolt, delivers data transfer speeds of 2.4 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) per pin which Samsung says translates into a performance boost of almost 50 percent compared to its first-gen offering. Samsung's figures for the Aquabolt are nothing but impressive: 307 GBps data bandwidth for a single package and 1.2 TBps in a system that uses four 2nd-generation HBM2 packages.

Samsung's first 8GB HBM2 package offered a transfer rate of 1.6Gbps at 1.2V (and 2.0Gbps at 1.35V).

Samsung will continue to refine its HBM2, as it expands the market "over the next several years", it says.

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While we do not know when these chips will appear on actual products, Samsung claims that it will supply the new 2nd generation 8GB HBM2 chips to its global IT customers.

To achieve Aquabolt's unprecedented performance, Samsung has applied new technologies related to TSV design and thermal control. Known as Aquabolt, this premium memory solution is the direct successor of the first HBM2, known as Flarebolt. A single 8 GB HBM2 package is made using eight vertically interconnected 8 Gb HBM2 dies. Using that many TSVs can cause collateral clock skew although Samsung was able to minimize the skew and boost chip performance in the process. Samsung has also increased the number of thermal bumps between HBM2 dies, enabling better thermal control and added an additional protective layer at the bottom, increasing the overall package strength.

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