Samsung Considers Rival's Tech to Boost HBM3 Chip Production

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics may be looking to adopt its competitor SK Hynix's chip-making technology to improve its production of high-bandwidth memory (HBM3) chips, according to a Reuters report.

Samsung currently uses the non-conductive film (NCF) method for stacking chip layers in HBM chips. While NCF works well for chips with fewer layers, it reportedly becomes problematic for those with more layers, leading to a lower yield – the percentage of usable chips produced. Analysts estimate Samsung's HBM3 yield to be around 10-20%, significantly lower than SK Hynix's 60-70%.

SK Hynix utilizes the mass reflow molded underfill (MR-MUF) method, which addresses the limitations of NCF and allows for a higher yield. This is believed to be a key factor behind SK Hynix's success in the HBM3 market, securing a deal with industry leader Nvidia to supply chips for their GenAI systems.

Reuters cites sources claiming Samsung has ordered equipment specifically designed for MR-MUF production, suggesting a potential shift in strategy. One source stated, "Samsung had to do something to ramp up its HBM yields... adopting MUF technique is a bit of a swallow-your-pride type thing for Samsung, because it ended up following the technique first used by SK Hynix."

Samsung is also reportedly in talks with material suppliers to acquire resources for MUF production. However, the company has officially denied these reports. A Samsung spokesperson called the rumors "not true" and reiterated their commitment to NCF technology, labeling it the "optimal solution" for HBM products, including their latest HBM3E chips. Samsung further claims to have a "stable yield rate" for HBM3 chips, but did not disclose the specific percentage.

Industry analysts are watching this situation closely. If Samsung confirms adopting MR-MUF, it would signal a significant shift and an acknowledgement of SK Hynix's technological lead in HBM3 production. This could potentially help Samsung increase its yield, compete more effectively in the market, and secure partnerships with major brands like Nvidia.

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