SK hynix Unveils Highest-Performing SSD for AI PCs at NVIDIA GTC 2024

By March 20, 2024 No Comments
    • SK hynix will develop PCB01, a PCIe Gen 5 SSD, in the first half of 2024 and launch the product this year
    • The company also presented the industry’s first volume-produced 12-layer HBM3E at GTC 2024
    • PCB01 strengthens SK hynix’s status as the world’s No. 1 AI memory provider in on-device AI as well as HBM


PCB01, SK hynix's PCIe Gen 5 SSD, is optimized for PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)

Figure 1. PCB01, SK hynix’s PCIe Gen 5 SSD, is optimized for PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)


SK hynix unveiled a new consumer product based on its latest solid-state drive (SSD), PCB01, which boasts industry-leading performance levels at GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2024. Hosted by NVIDIA in San Jose, California from March 18–21, GTC is one of the world’s leading conferences for AI developers.

Applied to on-device AI1 PCs, PCB01 is a PCIe2 fifth-generation SSD which recently had its performance and reliability verified by a major global customer. After completing product development in the first half of 2024, SK hynix plans to launch two versions of PCB01 by the end of the year which target both major technology companies and general consumers.

1On-device AI: The performance of AI computation and inference directly within devices such as smartphones or PCs, unlike cloud-based AI services that require a remote cloud server.
2Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe): A high-speed input/output interface with a serialization format used on the motherboard of digital devices.

Optimized for AI PCs, Capable of Loading LLMs Within One Second

Offering the industry’s highest sequential read speed of 14 gigabytes per second (GB/s) and a sequential write speed of 12 GB/s, PCB01 doubles the speed specifications of its previous generation. This enables the loading of LLMs3 required for AI learning and inference in less than one second.

3Large language model (LLM): As language models trained on vast amounts of data, LLMs are essential for performing generative AI tasks as they create, summarize, and translate texts.

To make on-device AIs operational, PC manufacturers create a structure that stores an LLM in the PC’s internal storage and quickly transfers the data to DRAMs for AI tasks. In this process, the PCB01 inside the PC efficiently supports the loading of LLMs. SK hynix expects these characteristics of its latest SSD to greatly increase the speed and quality of on-device AIs.

SK hynix's PCIe Gen 5 SSD PCB01 is optimized for PC OEMs

Figure 2. SK hynix’s PCIe Gen 5 SSD PCB01 is optimized for PC OEMs


PCB01 also offers a 30% improvement in power efficiency compared to its previous generation so it can effectively manage power from large-scale AI computations. In addition, SK hynix has applied single-level cell (SLC)4 caching technology to the product which enables some of the cells—the storage areas of NAND—to operate as SLCs with fast processing speeds. The technology allows selected data to be quickly read and written, speeding up the operation of AI services and general PC operations.

4Single-level cell (SLC): A type of memory cell used in NAND flash that stores one bit of data in a single cell. As the amount of data stored increases, the memory cell becomes a multi-level cell (MLC), a triple-level cell (TLC), and so on. Even though more data can be stored in the same area, the speed and stability decreases. SLC speeds up the processing of selected data.

Jae-yeun Yun, head of NAND Product Planning and Enablement at SK hynix, stated: “PCB01 will not only be highlighted for its use in AI PCs, but this high-performing product will also receive significant attention in the gaming and high-end PC markets,” he said. “Our much-anticipated product will allow us to solidify our position as the global no.1 AI memory provider not only in the HBM field but also in the on-device AI area.”

The PCB01-based product on display at GTC 2024

Figure 3. The PCB01-based product on display at GTC 2024


Alongside its PCB01-based product, SK hynix also introduced its next-generation flagship technologies and solutions at GTC 2024 including its 36 GB 12-layer HBM3E, CXL5, and GDDR76. The display of HBM3E, the industry’s first fifth-generation HBM solution, follows the company’s announcement that it has begun volume production of the product. In addition, GDDR7 attracted much attention for doubling its bandwidth and improving its power efficiency by 40% compared to its predecessor GDDR6.

5Compute Express Link (CXL): An integrated interface that connects multiple devices such as memory, CPUs, GPUs, and accelerators all at once.
6GDDR7: The 7th generation of graphics memory that supports GPUs to work faster and more efficiently.

On top of presenting its world-class portfolio, SK hynix also held presentation sessions at GTC 2024. Technical Leader Seoyeong Jeong of HBM Marketing gave a talk titled “The Outlook of the HBM Market” where she shared insights on the importance of AI memory and its core technologies.