AI-Driven HBM Uptake Is Power-Sensitive [Byline]

High-bandwidth memory (HBM) has become the artificial-intelligence memory of choice, and as HBM3 goes into volume production, more attention is being paid to power consumption in the wake of 2023’s generative AI boom.

The increasing demand for memory bandwidth from AI is directly correlated to increasing HBM bandwidth.Performance needs, memory bandwidth and memory sizes are growing exponentially, putting higher expectations and pressure on the next generation of HBM.

While bandwidth per watt as it relates to HBM is not particularly new, he said, energy consumption by data centers has been on the rise. These rapidly increasing power costs mean that bandwidth per watt is becoming a more important metric for enterprises who need to monitor operational costs—even more so with the increasing focus on sustainability initiatives.

The high costs associated with HBM and the price tag of the memory itself means the total cost of ownership becomes the deciding factor when determining if this uber-power memory is necessary for application. The process for customers to decide which memory they need starts with technical requirements like density, performance and power.

Read my full story for EE Times.

Gary Hilson is a freelance writer with a focus on B2B technology, including information technology, cybersecurity, and semiconductors.

The microLED market is still alive after Apple’s exit [Byline]

Had Apple opted to exit the microLED market two years earlier, it might have been the death knell of the industry, but a Yole Research analyst who has his pulse on the technology is cautiously optimistic despite the tech giant’s recent pivot.

In an interview with Fierce Electronics, Eric Virey, principal analyst covering displays at Yole, said after investing an estimated $3 billion into microLED development and convincing Osram to spend $1.3 billion of its own money to build a fab so Apple could make its smartwatch, Apple pulled the plug and cancelled the project.

Prior to Apple taking an interest in microLEDs, the technology was barely on anyone’s radar. Apple spent $450 million in 2014 to acquire a startup, which for it wasn’t a lot of money, but for everyone else it was a significant amount of money and put microLEDs on the map.

Read my full story at Fierce Electronics.

Gary Hilson is a freelance writer with a focus on B2B technology, including information technology, cybersecurity, and semiconductors.

Faster Networks Push Interface Development [Byline]

TORONTO – As Ethernet speeds get faster, Rambus is looking to make sure memory and interfaces can keep up with the recent launch 56G SerDes PHY.

The analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and (DSP) architecture of the 56G SerDes PHY is designed meet the long-reach backplane requirements for the industry transition to 400 GB Ethernet applications, said Mohit Gupta, senior director of product marketing at Rambus. This means it can support scaling to speeds as fast as 112G, which are required in the networking and enterprise segments, such as enterprise server racks that are moving from 100G to 400G.

“Ethernet is moving faster than ever,” Gupta said. “The pace has picked up substantially due to big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other trends putting high demands on communication channels. There is already a forum for 112G SerDes speed which will drive the 800G standard.”

One clear usage case, said Gupta, is data center deployment by the “big four” — Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

Read my full article on EE Times.

Gary Hilson is a freelance writer with a focus on B2B technology, including information technology, cybersecurity, and semiconductors.

What message should I take from Medium?

Because there’s not enough places for people to be published without getting paid, we now have Medium, “a better place to read and write things that matter.”

Medium has been on my radar for a while thanks to the occasional mention in my Twitter feed, but it was only recently that I visited the site to read an article written by an industry peer.

I really enjoyed what she wrote because it was personal and original, but otherwise I wonder how Medium is different or better than any other online platform. After perusing some recent Editor’s Picks, I can’t say the content is any more compelling than what I’ve read on other digital-first / digital-only media outlets or on traditional, main stream media sites. Much of it reminds me of the link bait I come across on Twitter.

Contributing content to Medium is limited right now, even if you do register. What the criteria is for being allowed to publish on the site is a mystery to me; it’s certainly not quality of writing because with rare exception, of the 10 articles I read, most were either  self-indulgent, pointless ramblings or poorly written grammatically and structurally. Overall they lacked depth.

I also encountered the same voices from elsewhere. I’m not sure why Facebook’s product design director needs another platform to post a profanity-laced and ultimately empty rant about design. I don’t want to read another blog by Jeff Jarvis. He gets enough attention already. And I definitely don’t need yet another blog post by a self-described entrepreneur giving advice about growing a startup.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy any articles because I did find one or two, but even those were on topics or concepts I’d read about plenty of times before and these just provided someone’s personal perspective, not new knowledge. One could argue that’s valuable in and of itself, but to me it represents a larger frustration I have with online content: for every one real article that delves into something in a meaningful manner there’s at least a dozen articles or blog posts that have summarized it or “curated” it. I suppose that’s better than an opinionated blog masquerading as a news article by a writer who thinks linking out to other articles is an adequate substitute for picking up the phone and interviewing a source.

What also struck me about Medium is that I’m not sure who the target audience is. “A better place to read and write things that matter” is nebulous and ultimately meaningless. When I was in journalism school we were always reminded by professors to remember who the audience was when pitching and writing stories for the student newspaper. That rule has stayed with me to this day. Who is supposed to be reading Medium? Entrepreneurs? Artists? Application developers? I have no idea and I’m unclear if I should be taking the time to browse through it.

Online content is a lot like cable TV, which I recently cancelled: there’s hundreds of channels but nothing on, and Medium strikes me as just one more place that adds to the noise I have to “channel surf” through to find the occasional gem. Unless it really defines what it is, and soon, Medium could easily find itself the flavour of the month in a sea of online soapboxes.

Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer, editor and content strategist storyteller.