HBM" memory: faster than DDR5, the darling of artificial intelligence makes its mark

Written by Guillaume
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While DDR4 and even DDR5 are better known to the general public, it's HBM memory that's reaping the greatest benefits... and there's no end in sight!

Significantly faster and more responsive, HBM memory is also considerably more expensive than DDR, whether we're talking about the classic DDR4 or the more recent DDR5. In fact, the very name HBM stands for High Bandwidth Memory. In principle, HBM isn't exactly new, and South Korea's SK Hynix offered the first modules back in 2013. Of course, over time, the technology has improved, each time well ahead of DDR technology.


The problem was that HBM paid a high price for these enhanced features, and it was difficult to justify the extra costs involved... until the emergence of artificial intelligence. Very much in vogue, but also particularly greedy for fast RAM, artificial intelligence has become the dream field of application, the main outlet for HBM manufacturers, to the point of taking significant market share from the DDR we use in our PCs. To date, SK Hynix still dominates the market and, by 2023, it is estimated that 90% of HBM chips produced worldwide will be manufactured by the company.

HBM generation adoption © TechPowerUp

The explosion in demand for HBMs could, however, change the game, because if today's AI gas pedals (AMD's MIxxx or NVIDIA's Hxx, Bxx, GHxx and GBxx) are HBM-hungry, subsequent generations will be even more so. In fact, other manufacturers are taking a serious look at the issue, and SK Hynix's most direct competitor could soon become its compatriot, Samsung, which, like others, is reallocating DDR production lines to HBM. It's estimated that HBM accounted for just 10% of memory production, but that by 2024, demand will have risen by 200%, doubling again by 2025!

If production were to increase, it would not be enough to satisfy the gargantuan demand, which would driveprices up by 5 to 10% over 2025. So it's easy to understand the interest shown by the major memory chip manufacturers: the HBM market is not only buoyant, but also extremely profitable!