updated 10:40 am EST, Thu December 1, 2011
IBM, Micron team up on 3D memory chips
IBM and Micron will collaborate on the production of the first memory chip to use CMOS manufacturing technology with through-silicon vias (TSVs). These are vertical conduits that electrically connect a stack of individual chips. This IBM process will let Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) run 15 times faster than current, conventional memory chips. The chip's parts will be made on 32-nanometer, high-K metal gate process technology that's as efficient as modern processors.
HMC ties together the TSVs with Micron's latest DRAM. Prototypes posted bandwidth speeds of 128GBps, while the best currently available chips can only muster 12.8GBps. The prototype is also 70 percent more energy efficient and takes up just 10 percent of the footprint of modern memory.
The researchers behind the technology believe the 3D memory chips will be available to customers in the next few years, though didn't go into further details. IBM will publicly reveal details of the TSV manufacturing tech at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, DC, on December 5.