Memory maker SK hynix booms during AI frenzy — now controls 35% of the DRAM market

SK Hynix HBM2E memory chips.
(Image credit: SK Hynix)

SK hynix's market share of the DRAM market has reached 35% as of Q3 of this year according to market research firm Omida (via Business Korea). The entire DRAM industry has lately seen a great amount of growth thanks to the demand for more AI hardware, which uses a relatively large amount of memory. SK hynix has seemingly done particularly well in this new environment, hitting an all-time high when it comes to market share.

The data center GPUs that companies want for training AI models and other related tasks come with more VRAM than ever before. For reference, AMD's 2020 Radeon Instinct MI100 came with 32 GB of HBM2, and MI200 in 2021 came with 64 GB of HBM2e. The company's latest MI300X has 192 GB of HBM3, and Nvidia's not too far behind as its H200 flagship has 141 GB of HBM3e.

All of these chips use HBM, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the HBM submarket is expected to grow at a rate of 52%, well ahead of the wider DRAM market at 21%. The quick growth fueled by demand for AI chips has shaken things up and has resulted in SK hynix hitting a new high-water mark at 35% market share.

It seems that much of SK hynix's recent success is due to HBM. Though HBM only represents 10% of DRAM revenue right now, SK hynix in April already had 50% market share of HBM according to Trendforce. The HBM market has grown since then, and it's also possible that SK hynix has increased its market share even further.

From the data we have seen, Omida has not shared where SK hynix stands in relation to Samsung and Micron, the other big RAM manufacturers, but presumably, SK Hynix is in second place. Samsung had 45% control of the DRAM market in March according to Trendforce (including 40% of the HBM market), and it's hard to imagine that the company has fallen behind by at least 10 points since. Plus, Omida probably would have mentioned SK hynix being in first place if it was the case.

Samsung has been the largest memory manufacturer for some years now, but AI could mint a new leader. HBM's share of revenue of the wider DRAM market is expected to increase to 20% by 2027, double the current 10% it's worth. If SK hynix's HBM chips continue to be as successful as they are today, then it could be enough to dethrone Samsung as the DRAM market leader.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.

  • Zforgetaboutit
    In this article we see

    "Memory maker SK hynix ... now controls 35% of the DRAM market"
    "has reached 35% as of Q3"
    "new high-water mark at 35%"

    Mentioning "35%" in the article body, twice, is excessive and annoying. Seems like padding. Once is enough.
    This is briefer and still makes the point:

    "has reached a new high-water mark of 35% as of Q3"
  • bit_user
    I hope SK Hynix starts selling their DIMM modules in the US. Currently, some of their DIMMs are on the QVL of a motherboard I want to buy, but I can't find anywhere non-sketchy to order them.