The market for the next-generation HBM3E, a high-performance semiconductor for artificial intelligence within the High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) sector, is heating up. As Samsung Electronics, SK hynix, and Micron all gear up to mass-produce 5th generation HBM3E, the competition is expected to intensify.

According to industry sources on Oct. 29, the global top three DRAM enterprises – Samsung Electronics, SK hynix, and Micron – have completed the development of the 5th generation HBM3E and are preparing for mass production, having commenced sample distribution. HBM connects multiple DRAM chips vertically, enhancing data processing speeds significantly.

The demand for HBM in the AI sector is sharply rising. HBM products have been developed in the sequence of HBM, HBM2, HBM2E, HBM3, HBM3E, and HBM4, with the 4th generation HBM3 currently in mass production.

Leading the HBM market, SK hynix has successfully developed HBM3E and has initiated sample distribution to its client, Nvidia, for verification. The developed HBM3E processes over 1.15 TB of data, equivalent to processing the data of more than 230 full HD movies, per second.

SK hynix plans to solidify its dominant position in the AI memory market by commencing HBM3E production in the first half of next year. In a quarterly earnings conference call, SK hynix stated, “As of now, not just HBM3, but HBM3E included, our capacity for next year is already sold out.”

Samsung Electronics showcased its ultra-high-performance HBM3E DRAM Shinebolt at the Memory Tech Day event held in Silicon Valley on Oct. 20. Shinebolt boasts a 1.5x capacity increase from its predecessor, processing over 1.2 TB of data per second, with a 10% enhancement in energy efficiency. Samsung is currently distributing HBM3E samples to its clients, with mass production expected to commence in the latter half of next year.

Micron has also entered the race by developing its 5th generation HBM3 Gen2 memory and has begun client sample verification. They remarked, “It possesses a bandwidth of more than 1.2 TB and a pin speed exceeding 9.2 Gbps, a 50% improvement over the currently released HBM3.”

Each company is staking a lot in investments and technological development to secure a foothold in the HBM3E market. SK hynix plans to increase its investment in the Through Silicon Via (TSV) process, a cutting-edge packaging technology utilized in HBM manufacturing. Meanwhile, Samsung announced last month the development of the industry’s first 12 nm-class 32 Gb DDR5 DRAM that can be manufactured without the TSV process, indicating a potential increase in HBM capacity. They are also focused on strengthening the capacity to offer turnkey (bulk production) services tailored to HBM clients.