Memories' evolving 3D TSV IP landscape through Yole's lens

November 23, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Memories' evolving 3D TSV IP landscape through Yole's lens
According to market research firm Yole Développement, the last two years have showed some important changes within the 3D TSV memory market.

First commercial products including 3DS DDR4, HBM and HMC have been released by the microelectronics giants and first patent litigations soon took place between ELM 3DS and leaders such as Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Micron Technology.

Looking through patent applications, technology intelligence and IP strategy consulting company KnowMade has identified more than 400 patents families relating to TSV stacked memory technology published since the mid-2000s, including over 1500 individual patents.
In the semiconductor industry, 3D integration using TSV has been considered to be a promising way for improving performance and density. Indeed, by connecting stacked chips with the TSV vertical connections, the wide bandwidth I/O and reduction of interconnects length can be achieved.

The 3D TSV market for memory applications is showing an impressive CAGR up until 2020: analysts from Yole announce 43% growth with almost 200 thousands units of wafers in 2016.
New products released by the leaders of the microelectronic industry including AMD, Samsung Electronics and more demonstrated the added-value of this innovative advanced packaging platform. The reverse engineering and costing company System Plus Consulting is daily working on these 3D memory devices to explore the TSV stacked technologies and describe the manufacturing process flow.

According to Yole, the market for 3D TSV technology will continue to grow, with a CAGR exceeding 10% over the next five years, helped by the next wave of adoptions, especially with 3D memory devices for high end graphics, high-performance computing, networking and datacenters applications.
For example an HBM has been introduced by AMD in its Radeon R9 Fury X high-end graphics card. System Plus Consulting released last year a detailed reverse engineering and costing analysis of this component, titled AMD World’s First HBM-Powered Product SK Hynix 3D TSV High-Bandwidth Memory and highlighting 3D TSV technology added-value in this new component: “AMD’s 3D & 2.5D component integrates HBM such as DRAM dies & logic dies connected with via-middle 3D TSV and micro-bumps as well as GPU stacked onto a silicon interposer including also via-middle 3D TSV,” explained Romain Fraux, CTO’s System Plus Consulting. According to AMD, this HBM component delivers 60% more memory bandwidth, 3 x the performance per watt and consumes 94% less PCB area than GDDR5.

Moreover, both AMD and Nvidia have also announced new graphics products exploiting next generation HBM2 technology.

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