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Samsung Denies Planning Switch to Chip-Making Method Favored by Rival SK Hynix

Last Updated March 13, 2024 3:11 PM
James Morales
Last Updated March 13, 2024 3:11 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Samsung has fallen behind South Korean rival SK Hynix in the market for High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) chips.
  • Reuters reported that Samsung planned to switch to a HBM manufacturing process favored by SK Hynix.
  • In response, Samsung said it had no plans to change course on its HBM fabrication method.

Driven by rising demand for more powerful GPUs, in recent years, Samsung has increasingly directed its efforts toward High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) components used in ASICs and AI chips. But if company insiders cited by Reuters are to be believed, the South Korean firm is concerned that its HBM manufacturing capacity risks falling behind.

Samsung is reportedly planning to adopt a manufacturing technology used by its HBM rival SK Hynix. However, the company has denied the rumors.

Why are HBM Chips Important?

Compared to other forms of computer memory, HBM produces higher bandwidth with less power consumption. 

Because it is currently more difficult to manufacture the components, HBM systems are typically reserved for high-end hardware like Nvidia’s advanced AI chips.

As demand for these and other HBM-integrated chip designs has grown, the leading manufacturers – South Korea’s Samsung and SK Hynix, and the US-based Micron Technologies – have entered into a fierce competition.

Having signed big contracts with Nvidia and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), SK Hynix controlled 54%  of the global HBM market last year. In second place, Samsung took 41%. But after Nvidia opted to use Micron’s HBM chips in its upcoming H200  AI accelerator, the American firm could soon see its market share rise.

HBM Manufacturing Rivalry

To make its HBM chips, Samsung currently uses a non-conductive film (NCF)-based fabrication method, while SK Hynix uses a technique known as mass reflow molded underfill (MR-MUF).

Samsung Denies Reports

According to Reuters, however, Samsung’s NCF process has suffered from low yields and the company has recently ordered manufacturing equipment designed to handle the MR-MUF technique. 

Responding to the report, Samsung insisted that its NCF technology had maintained a stable yield rate in HBU production. It also denied that it plans to adopt the HBM manufacturing technique championed by its South Korean rival.

“Rumors that Samsung Electronics will apply MR-MUF to its HBM production are not true,” the company said in a statement  reported by local news outlets.

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