UMC, short for United Microelectronics Corporation, has entered into volume production of the TSVs (Through Silicon Vias) used in the production of the HBM technology made popular in the Fiji products from AMD. The short quantity of this particular piece of technology can very well have proven to be a bottleneck in the consistent supply of Radeon R9 Fury Series GPUs. This report by PRNewsWire however, should allay any fears of a constant shortage scenario.
A slide showcasing the finer features of the 2.5D stacking tech used in the Fury Series. @AMD Public Domain
UMC starts volume production of TSVs, bottleneck in the AMD R9 Fury series eliminated
Let me give a short overview of the HBM technology first. The interposer is made by UMC as well, and employs the TSV (the standard tech for coupling stacked dies) process for stacking DRAM dies. A CMOS redistribution layer is used to place micro bumps to make the dies communicate with the interposer while TSVs are drilled through. All this is done in the 300mm Fab 12 foundry (UMC) in Singapore. Here is the thing however, UMC hadn't entered into volume production of Through Silicon Vias until very recently (20th July 2015) and this meant that there was a very big bottleneck in the Radeon R9 Fury X supply chain. Here is what UMC had to say on the occasion:
"AMD has a successful history of delivering cutting-edge GPU products to market," said S.C. Chien, vice president of Corporate Marketing and co-chair of the TSV committee at UMC. "This volume production milestone is the culmination of UMC's close TSV collaboration with AMD, and we are happy to bring the performance benefits of this technology to help power their new generation of GPU products. We look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership with AMD for years to come."
AMD has previously confirmed that they are having supply problems (too much demand) with the R9 Fury Series (released so far); and with the R9 Nano releasing next month, it was only going to get worst. The good news (or brilliant news rather) is that UMC has ramped up its production significantly - so all HBM1 equipped products should have no supply issues (far as HBM/TSV/Interposer tech is concerned) and all AIBs can have their fill of the coveted memory standard. The only issue now would be the dies itself, which shouldn't probably pose too much of a problem seeing AMD must have been expecting this level of demand.
The R9 Fury X, Fury and Nano GPUs use a 2.5D interposer schematic where the GPU and the HBM is placed on an interposer. This tactic increases the yield significantly and is far cheaper than a pure 3D stack, not to mention makes heat dissipation a alot easier. AMD has been at the bleeding edge of memory technology and while it has faced down a few hurdles, it looks like things are finally starting to look up for AMD. If the demand for the Fiji powered graphic cards holds then it (and AIBs) should now be able to radically increase its supply to meat the demand.