$3 Billion Bet on the Future of Computing: AMD & Samsung’s Deal

In October last year, Samsung hosted the “Samsung Memory Tech Day 2023,” where they unveiled a new generation of HBM3E DRAM, codenamed “Shinebolt.” By February of this year, Samsung announced the development of the industry’s first HBM3E 12H DRAM, featuring a 12-layer stack with a capacity of 36GB, making it the highest bandwidth and capacity HBM product to date. Samsung then began providing samples to clients, with plans for mass production in the latter half of the year.

According to Viva100, Samsung has entered into a $3 billion agreement with AMD to supply HBM3E 12H DRAM, expected to be used in the Instinct MI350 series. It is reported that Samsung has also agreed to purchase AMD’s GPUs in exchange for the HBM products, though the specifics of the products and quantities remain undisclosed.

Rumors suggest that AMD plans to launch the Instinct MI350 series in the second half of this year as an upgrade to the Instinct MI300 series. These are manufactured using TSMC’s 4nm process to enhance performance and reduce power consumption. The use of the 12-layer stacked HBM3E notably increases both bandwidth and capacity.

Samsung’s HBM3E 12H DRAM offers up to 1280GB/s of bandwidth and a capacity of 36GB, which represents a 50% increase over previous 8-layer stack products. The adoption of advanced Thermal Compression Non-Conductive Film (TC NCF) technology allows the 12-layer products to maintain the same height specifications as the 8-layer versions, meeting current HBM packaging requirements. This technology also improves the thermal performance of HBM by using bumps of different sizes between chips; smaller bumps are used in signal transmission areas, while larger bumps are placed in heat dissipation areas, which enhances the yield rate of the products.

According to Samsung, in artificial intelligence applications, the use of HBM3E 12H DRAM is expected to increase training speeds by 34% compared to HBM3E 8H DRAM, and the number of inference service users could increase by more than 11.5 times.

Industry insiders have noted that this deal is separate from negotiations regarding Samsung’s foundry services. There have been rumors that AMD’s next-generation CPUs/GPUs will incorporate Samsung’s manufacturing processes.