SK hynix is getting ready to debut “2.5D Fan-out” packaging as its next-generation memory semiconductor technology. Gaining confidence in the field of next-generation chip technology due to its successful performance in High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) this year, SK hynix seems to be accelerating its efforts to secure technological leadership with the development of “specialty” memory products.

According to industry sources on Nov. 26, SK hynix is preparing to integrate 2.5D Fan-out packaging technology into its next generation of DRAM after HBM.

This new technique arranges two DRAM chips horizontally and then combines them as if they were one chip. A characteristic feature is that the chips become thinner as there is no substrate added beneath them. This allows for a significantly reduced thickness of chips installed in Information Technology (IT) devices. SK hynix is expected to publicly reveal research results of chips made using this packaging as early as next year.

SK hynix’s attempt is quite unique, as 2.5D Fan-out packaging has never been tried in the memory industry before. This technology has been predominantly used in the field of advanced system semiconductor manufacturing. World-leading semiconductor foundry TSMC first commercialized Fan-out Wafer-Level Packaging (FOWLP) in 2016, using it in the production of application processors for iPhones, thereby gaining Apple’s trust. Samsung Electronics has introduced this technology to the packaging of advanced APs for Galaxy smartphones starting from the fourth quarter of this year.

A major reason for SK hynix’s application of Fan-out packaging in the memory semiconductor field is interpreted as a cost reduction in packaging. The industry regards 2.5D Fan-out packaging as a technology that can reduce costs by skipping the Through-Silicon Via (TSV) process while increasing the number of input/output (I/O) interfaces. The industry speculates that this packaging technology will be applied to Graphic DRAM (GDDR) and others that require an expansion of information I/O.

SK hynix’s strategy to pre-empt the IT trend of diversifying memory products in small quantities with this technology is becoming clearer. SK hynix is solidifying its collaboration with world-renowned Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) company Nvidia, leading in the HBM market, which is gaining attention as a next-generation DRAM. There is also an instance where SK hynix produced and supplied special DRAM for the “R1” computation unit installed in Apple’s new AR device “Vision Pro.” Kwak No-jung, president of SK hynix, stated, “In the era of AI, we will innovate memory semiconductors into specialty products differentiated for each customer.”