Feeds

More revelers amp up hybrid memory cube party

ARM, HP (and more) join Micron, Samsung, Microsoft (and more)

High performance access to file storage

A bunch more IT vendors have picked up shiny new Hybrid Memory Cube sledgehammers and are working with Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics to smash the memory barrier.

Memory performance, density, and lower power consumption are all key to future servers and other exotic high performance computing clusters as well as for graphics cards, networking devices, and other memory-dense devices.

To meet these needs, the Hybrid Memory Cube consortium was formed last fall to create a 3D stack of memory chips that has 15 times the performance of a single DDR3 memory module, uses 70 per cent less energy per unit of capacity, and occupies only a tenth of the space of current memory subsystems. The goal is to get the first 3D chip modules to market by 2013.

Hybrid Cube Memory

Today's processors spin at several billions of cycles per second and have an insatiable need for data. As you add more cores to a processor, even if you don't ramp up the clock speed, you make the memory bandwidth problem worse, seeing as how current memory modules have long traces between memory chips and their pins, which require lots of power and time to send a signal.

The answer that most chip makers have to this problem is to go vertical – to stack up chips in three dimensions. In the case of HMC memory, you stack up chips in cubic arrays and connect them in parallel to a logic layer and a package substrate – like the pin-out on a CPU – to build a structure that has shorter paths, can run faster, and uses less energy. Prototype HMC blocks that have been manufactured to date can deliver around 128GB/sec of bandwidth into and out of the memory block using DDR3 memory chips, compared to 12.8GB/sec for 1.33GHz DDR3 memory sticks made in a conventional 2D layout.

Micron and Samsung formed the HMC consortium along with field programmable gate array makers Altera and Xilinx as well as Open Silicon in October 2011, and in December the two primary vendors behind the effort said they had tapped IBM Microelectronics for manufacturing breakthroughs relating to the Through Silicon Vias, or TSVs, to link DRAM chips together and to controllers that implement a crossbar interconnect that play traffic cop across the cube of memory circuits.

Micron showed off HMC memory modules back at last years's Intel Developer Forum – even ahead of when the consortium was announced – and seems confident that it can get modules into the field in the second half of 2013.

This May, Microsoft joined the HMC consortium. The company has a direct interest in memory technology because of its Xbox game consoles – and now its Surface fondleslabs – and an indirect interest because of its dominant position in the PC and server rackets and its status as a provider of raw computing from its Azure cloud.

At the time, the consortium said that 75 companies had contacted it with interest in joining the HMC effort and participating in specification development.

Now, ARM Holdings, which hopes to get its foot in the server door soon with its low-power RISC processors, has joined the HMC effort and so have server and switch maker HP and memory maker SK Hynix. The number of HMC tire kickers is now up to 90, according to a statement put out by Micron. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.