If anyone thought the memory industry couldn't get any worse, it looks like Micron is about to obliterate the competition with its Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology that is built using through-silicon vias (TSVs) and Micron has now signed an agreement with IBM to start manufacturing. This technology if proven successful in mass production would easily be the biggest leap in memory technology for the past decade and maybe even for the next decade.

If anyone thought the memory industry couldn't get any worse, it looks like Micron is about to obliterate the competition with its Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology that is built using through-silicon vias (TSVs) and Micron has now signed an agreement with IBM to start manufacturing. This technology if proven successful in mass production would easily be the biggest leap in memory technology for the past decade and maybe even for the next decade.

The advantage of stacking the memory chips using TSVs is not only that it takes up one-tenth of the space of a traditional memory chip if you compare how much memory you get in a set amount of PCB space. Thanks to some built in logic, we're also looking at reduced latencies, up to a 70 percent reduction in power usage compared to standard DDR3 and a claimed 15 times performance improvement or more for a DDR3 module built using HMC technology.

The gold layers consist of DRAM with the blue part at the bottom being the logic

In all fairness we're not there yet and prototypes made by Micron have "only" had a bandwidth of 128GB/s, about 10 times faster than high-end DDR3 memory. Production will kick off using IBM's 32nm high-K metal gate process in the company's facility in East Fishkill, New York; although no specific date was giving as to when production will start.

The bad news you ask? Well, at least initially it looks like HMC is destined for the server market, where large amounts of DRAM is often needed, but we can see it taking too long before we see this technology being used in all sorts of consumer devices. The traditional DIMM might very well be a dying species in the PC ecosystem in the not too distant future, replaced by something far smaller with much higher capacity.

Source: IBM