[News] Reasons for Samsung’s HBM Chips Failing Nvidia Tests Revealed, Reportedly Due to Heat and Power Consumption Issues

2024-05-24 Semiconductors editor

Samsung’s latest high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips have reportedly failed Nvidia’s tests, while the reasons were revealed for the first time. According to the latest report by Reuters, the failure was said to be due to issues with heat and power consumption.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters noted that Samsung’s HBM3 chips, as well as its next generation HBM3e chips, may be affected, which the company and its competitors, SK hynix and Micron, plan to launch later this year.

In response to the concerns raising by heat and power consumption regarding HBM chips, Samsung stated that its HBM testing proceeds as planned.

In an offical statement, Samsung noted that it is in the process of optimizing products through close collaboration with customers, with testing proceeding smoothly and as planned. The company said that HBM is a customized memory product, which requires optimization processes in tandem with customers’ needs.

According to Samsung, the tech giant is currently partnering closely with various companies to continuously test technology and performance, and to thoroughly verify the quality and performance of HBM.

Nvidia, on the other hand, declined to comment.

As Nvidia currently dominates the global GPU market with an 80% lion’s share for AI applications, meeting Nvidia’s stardards would doubtlessly be critical for HBM manufacturers.

Reuters reported that Samsung has been attempting to pass Nvidia’s tests for HBM3 and HBM3e since last year, while a test for Samsung’s 8-layer and 12-layer HBM3e chips was said to fail in April.

According to TrendForce’s analysis earlier, NVIDIA’s upcoming B100 or H200 models will incorporate advanced HBM3e, while the current HBM3 supply for NVIDIA’s H100 solution is primarily met by SK hynix. SK hynix has been providing HBM3 chips to Nvidia since 2022, Reuters noted.

According to a report from the Financial Times in May, SK hynix has successfully reduced the time needed for mass production of HBM3e chips by 50%, while close to achieving the target yield of 80%.

Another US memory giant, Micron, stated in February that its HBM3e consumes 30% less power than its competitors, meeting the demands of generative AI applications. Moreover, the company’s 24GB 8H HBM3e will be part of NVIDIA’s H200 Tensor Core GPUs, breaking the previous exclusivity of SK hynix as the sole supplier for the H100.

Considering major competitors’ progress on HBM3e, if Samsung fails to meet Nvidia’s requirements, the industry and investors may be more concerned on whether the Korean tech heavyweight would further fall behind its rivals in the HBM market.

Please note that this article cites information from Reuters and Financial Times.

(Photo credit: Samsung)

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