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Compaq 9000

HBM, the Next Step in Video Card Evolution

High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) has been thrown around the rumor mill as being the next big innovation in video card design which will be debuting in AMD’s next generation of Radeon video cards. What is HBM? And what difference will it make?

In high-end gaming video cards, the speed and performance of their onboard VRAM is just as important as the GPU core itself. GDDR5, the current VRAM standard based off of DDR3, is getting a bit long in the tooth as higher performance and bandwidth will be needed to push increasingly demanding experiences. Its replacement, HBM, has been pioneered by Hynix and AMD and will not only sharply increase the available memory bandwidth on video cards (allowing for GPU’s to plow through increasingly massive textures), but also allow for higher power efficiency and smaller form-factors than before.

As you can see in the image above, HBM works by stacking DRAM vertically, allowing for more densely packed memory and higher performance at a lower clock speed and voltage. Furthermore, since HBM will be occupying less space on the PCB of a video card (actually being incorporated on the GPU package as close as possible to the GPU core itself), we can expect to see reference video cards that are about 50% smaller than what we’ve become accustomed to with cards like the R9 290X.

Things are about to get very interesting with the expected launch of AMD’s latest generation of high performance video cards in the coming months. If you have any questions regarding video cards or PC hardware in general, feel free to stop by any of our 9 retail locations in Texas or contact us!