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 High Bandwidth Memory, Reinventing Memory Technology

​Another first for AMD with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM)

The latest invention in AMD’s long history of pioneering open standard technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible

AMD with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM)
HBM Infographic​​
​​Introducing HBM, a new type of memory chip with low power consumption, ultra-wide communication lanes and a revolutionary new stacked configuration. HBM’s vertical stacking and fast information transfer open the door for truly exciting performance in innovative form factors. And GPU applications are just the start – look for HBM’s superior power efficiency and space savings to spark industry-wide innovation.​

I​nfographic: Reinventing Memory Technology

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Revolutionary HBM breaks the processing bottleneck

HBM's Processing Architecture

HBM is a new type of CPU/GPU memory (“RAM”) that vertically stacks memory chips, like floors in a skyscraper. In doing so, it shortens your information commute. Those towers connect to the CPU or GPU through an ultra-fast interconnect called the “interposer.” Several stacks of HBM are plugged into the interposer alongside a CPU or GPU, and that assembled module connects to a circuit board.

Though these HBM stacks are not physically integrated with the CPU or GPU, they are so closely and quickly connected via the interposer that HBM’s characteristics are nearly indistinguishable from on-chip integrated RAM.

Power Efficiency

GDDR5 has served the industry well these past seven years, and many gigabytes of this memory technology are used on virtually every high-performance graphics card to date.

HBM's versus GDDR5

But as graphics chips grow faster, their appetite for fast delivery of information (“bandwidth”) continues to increase. GDDR5’s ability to satisfy those bandwidth demands is beginning to wane as the technology reaches the limits of its specification. Each additional gigabyte per second of bandwidth is beginning to consume too much power to be a wise, efficient, or cost-effective decision for designers or consumers. Taken to its logical conclusion, GDDR5 could easily begin to stall the continued performance growth of graphics chips. HBM resets the clock on memory power efficiency, offering >3X the bandwidth per watt of GDDR5.1

Smaller Form Factors

Beyond performance and power efficiency, HBM is also revolutionary in its ability to save space on a product. As gamers increasingly expect smaller and more powerful PCs, the elimination of bulky GDDR5 chips in favor of HBM can enable devices with exciting new form factors that pack a punch in a smaller size. Compared to GDDR5, HBM can fit the same amount of memory in 94% less space!2

​​HBM resets the clock on memory power efficiency

A legacy of enabling industry-wide innovation

AMD has a long history of pioneering innovations, spawning industry standards and spurring the entire industry to push the boundaries of what is possible. HBM is just the most recent in an impressive list that spans CPUs, graphics, servers, and more:

  • X86-64: The 64-bit version of the x86 instruction set found in all modern x86 CPUs
  • Wake-On-LAN: Co-invented w/ HP, this revolutionary computer networking standard enables remote computer wake-up
  • GDDR and now HBM: Pervasive industry standards for high-performance memory, invented by AMD with contributions from the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) and industry partners
  • The first multi-core x86 processor: AMD’s Opteron™ 100 Series CPU was famously the first to bring multi-core computing to the PC space
  • DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync: Implemented by AMD as FreeSync™ technology, this VESA-ratified AMD proposal eliminates stutter for smoother gameplay
  • First on-die memory controller for x86:  AMD’s “Hammer” architecture was first to integrate a memory controller onto consumer CPUs for peak performance
  • Mantle: The first low-overhead PC graphics API, sparking a revolution that now spans the entire PC graphics industry
  • First on-die GPU: AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) were the first to explore the integration of a GPU with the CPU, eliminating the need for a bulky external GPU for compact or inexpensive PCs

With HBM, AMD is set to once again revolutionize the industry, from next-level gaming to VR and beyond.


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