Samsung teases first 512GB DDR5 modules

Posted on Thursday, Mar 25 2021 @ 10:30 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
A new memory standard is on the horizon. DDR4 has had a pretty long run and towards the end of this year, we can expect Intel's Alder Lake-S, the first desktop platform with support for DDR5 memory. Over the past couple of months, we've already seen several DDR5 pre-announcements and now there's news from Samsung.

Samsung shows 512GB DDR5 memory

Samsung reveals a 512GB DDR5 memory module that runs at 7200Mbps. It's double the capacity versus the maximum possible with DDR4 and the bandwidth is definitely a major increase too. The product features eight layers of 16Gb DRAM chips. Samsung claims the new memory uses 13 percent less power than DDR4.

Interestingly, Samsung points to High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) as one of the innovations that resulted in higher energy efficiency. The first time we heard this term was in 2007 when Intel hyped up this transistor improvement for the 45nm Penryn processors. Samsung started using it for GDDR6 in 2018.

The 512GB DDR5 modules are sampling right now -- Samsung didn't share exact availability details.

Samsung 512GB DDR5
Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has expanded its DDR5 DRAM memory portfolio with the industry’s first 512GB DDR5 module based on High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology. Delivering more than twice the performance of DDR4 at up to 7,200 megabits per second (Mbps), the new DDR5 will be capable of orchestrating the most extreme compute-hungry, high-bandwidth workloads in supercomputing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as data analytics applications.

“Samsung is the only semiconductor company with logic and memory capabilities and the expertise to incorporate HKMG cutting-edge logic technology into memory product development,” said Young-Soo Sohn, Vice President of the DRAM Memory Planning/Enabling Group at Samsung Electronics. “By bringing this type of process innovation to DRAM manufacturing, we are able to offer our customers high-performance, yet energy-efficient memory solutions to power the computers needed for medical research, financial markets, autonomous driving, smart cities and beyond.”

“As the amount of data to be moved, stored and processed increases exponentially, the transition to DDR5 comes at a critical inflection point for cloud datacenters, networks and edge deployments,” said Carolyn Duran, Vice President and GM of Memory and IO Technology at Intel. “Intel’s engineering teams closely partner with memory leaders like Samsung to deliver fast, power-efficient DDR5 memory that is performance-optimized and compatible with our upcoming Intel Xeon Scalable processors, code-named Sapphire Rapids.”

Samsung’s DDR5 will utilize highly advanced HKMG technology that has been traditionally used in logic semiconductors. With continued scaling down of DRAM structures, the insulation layer has thinned, leading to a higher leakage current. By replacing the insulator with HKMG material, Samsung’s DDR5 will be able to reduce the leakage and reach new heights in performance. This new memory will also use approximately 13% less power, making it especially suitable for datacenters where energy efficiency is becoming increasingly critical.

The HKMG process was adopted in Samsung’s GDDR6 memory in 2018 for the first time in the industry. By expanding its use in DDR5, Samsung is further solidifying its leadership in next-generation DRAM technology.

Leveraging through-silicon via (TSV) technology, Samsung’s DDR5 stacks eight layers of 16Gb DRAM chips to offer the largest capacity of 512GB. TSV was first utilized in DRAM in 2014 when Samsung introduced server modules with capacities up to 256GB.

Samsung is currently sampling different variations of its DDR5 memory product family to customers for verification and, ultimately, certification with their leading-edge products to accelerate AI/ML, exascale computing, analytics, networking, and other data-intensive workloads.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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