High Bandwidth Memory is currently labeled on AMD's GPU roadmap as a 2016 technology, but according to Su, it will arrive on the next generation of Radeon GPUs this year. HBM will allow AMD to increase its memory bandwidth capabilities while cutting down on power consumption. The cards should also include the company's latest color compression technology, which will reduce the amount of memory bandwidth required for frame buffer operations. This overall increase in memory bandwidth will allow AMD to deliver better 4K and VR performance.
HBM will also allow AMD to experiment with new form factor GPUs, such as saving space and producing smaller cards by placing memory on the same package as the GPU. AMD also hinted at its intentions to bring HBM to other, non-GPU products—likely this means AMD wants to build HBM-equipped APUs.
It'll be interesting to see if high bandwidth memory helps AMD edge ahead of Nvidia when it comes to 4K and VR performance. The new cards are an important, long-overdue release from AMD: its last generation of graphics cards launched in fall 2013.