SAN JOSE, Calif. – At next week’s Design West conference, Micron will discuss the road map for its Hybrid Memory Cube, one of the high profile initiatives in a growing wave of 3-D chip stacks. The memory maker is adding new supporters and specifications around its plan for a release of an ultra-dense memory device in the first half of next year.
Micron hopes to name two new supporters in the next few weeks to its currently slate of six companies. It already has backing from Altera, OpenSilicon, Samsung, Xilinx and IBM which made a prototype cube in a 32 nm process. Last September, Intel showed a research project on a physical-layer device that worked with Micron’s cube.
The Hybrid Memory Cube is a stack of four to eight DRAM die linked in a 3-D IC chip stack using through silicon via. They are joined to a logic die that can handle both the RAS/CAS memory-array access jobs of a DRAM chip and the system memory controller functions typically done by a separate chip.
Designers envision placing the Micron stack on a chip substrate next to a server or network processor to provide new levels of fast memory access for high performance systems. Micron says it will deliver early next year 2 and 4 Gbyte versions of the stack providing aggregate bi-directional bandwidth of up to 160 Gbytes/second.
Members of Micron’s consortium are still debating exactly what jobs the logic layer in the stack should support, particularly as the latest server processors already embed memory controllers. Micron prefers to provide the full complement of DRAM and system control in the cube.
The debate is one of the central issues in creating an interface for the cube. Micron and partners hope to deliver a draft of that interface in June, initially open only to members of its consortium of partners. Another issue is whether or how to support atomic transactions, a method for aggregating tasks particularly helpful for multicore processors.
The cube spec in development is described as a high-speed serial interface using a packet protocol. Micron hopes the group can finish the spec by the end of the year, making it generally available on a royalty-free basis.
Micron is not alone in the pursuit of a 3-D memory stack. The Jedec group is working on a follow on to the 12.8 Gbit/second Wide I/O interface that targets mobile applications processors. The so-called HB-DRAM or HBM effort is said to target a 120-128 Gbyte/second interface and is led by the Jedec JC-42 committee including representatives from Hynix and other companies.
A list of news stories related to Design West is available online.