from the everything-is-getting-smaller dept.
Samsung Electronics has announced the production of "10nm-class" 8 gigabit DRAM chips that will be used in DDR4 modules with capacities ranging from 4 GB to 128 GB. "10nm-class" is an industry term that refers to an unspecified process somewhere between 10 nanometers and 19 nanometers.
In November, Samsung announced the production of 128 GB DDR4 registered dual inline memory modules (RDIMMs) using through silicon via (TSV) stacked dies with four 8 gigabit chips per package. Those modules used 20nm process DRAM and achieved a 2,400 Mbps data rate. The new 10nm-class memory will support a 3,200 Mbps data rate.
Samsung has developed the world's first 128 GB DDR4 registered memory modules for servers. From the press release:
Following Samsung's introduction of the world-first 3D TSV DDR4 DRAM (64GB) in 2014, the company's new TSV registered dual inline memory module (RDIMM) marks another breakthrough that opens the door for ultra-high capacity memory at the enterprise level. Samsung's new TSV DRAM module boasts the largest capacity and the highest energy efficiency of any DRAM modules today, while operating at high speed and demonstrating excellent reliability.
From The Register:
The Register is aware of servers with 96 DIMM slots, which means ... WOAH! ... 12.2 terabytes of RAM in a single server if you buy Samsung's new babies.
Samsung says these new DIMMS are special because "the chip dies are ground down to a few dozen micrometers, pierced with hundreds of fine holes and vertically connected by electrodes passing through the holes, allowing for a significant boost in signal transmission."
There's also "a special design through which the master chip of each 4GB package embeds the data buffer function to optimise module performance and power consumption."
Samsung this week announced its first LPDDR4 memory chips made using its 10nm-class DRAM fabrication technology. The new DRAM ICs feature the industry's highest density of 16 Gb, are rated to run at 4266 MT/s data rate, and open the door to more mobile devices with 8 GB of DRAM.
Earlier this year Samsung started to produce DDR4 memory using its 10nm-class DRAM manufacturing process (which is believed to be 18 nm) and recently the firm began to use it to make LPDDR4 memory devices, just as it planned. The thinner fabrication technology allowed Samsung to increase capacity of a single LPDDR4 DRAM IC to 16 Gb (up from 12 Gb at 20nm introduced in August, 2015) while retaining a 4266 MT/s transfer rate.
The first product to use the 16 Gb ICs is Samsung's 8 GB LPDDR4-4266 mobile DRAM package for smartphones, tablets, and other applications that can use LPDDR4. The device stacks four memory ICs and provides up to 34 GB/s of bandwidth when connected to an SoC using a 64-bit memory bus. The 8 GB DRAM package comes in a standard 15 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm form-factor, which is compatible with typical mobile devices, but Samsung can also make the package thinner than 1 mm to enable PoP stacking with a mobile application processor or a UFS NAND storage device.
The press release confirms the high data rate:
The new 8GB LPDDR4 operates at up to 4,266 megabits per second (Mbps), which is twice as fast as DDR4 DRAM for PCs working typically at 2,133 Mbps per pin. Assuming a 64 bit (x64) wide memory bus, this can be viewed as transmitting over 34GBs of data per second.
Tune in next year when I post about Samsung putting 12 GB of RAM in smartphones.
Samsung's second generation ("1y-nm") 8 Gb DDR4 DRAM dies are being mass produced:
Samsung late on Wednesday said that it had initiated mass production of DDR4 memory chips using its second generation '10 nm-class' fabrication process. The new manufacturing technology shrinks die size of the new DRAM chips and improves their performance as well as energy efficiency. To do that, the process uses new circuit designs featuring air spacers (for the first time in DRAM industry). The new DRAM ICs (integrated circuits) can operate at 3600 Mbit/s per pin data rate (DDR4-3600) at standard DDR4 voltages and have been validated with major CPU manufacturers already.
[...] Samsung's new DDR4 chip produced using the company's 1y nm fabrication process has an 8-gigabit capacity and supports 3600 MT/s data transfer rate at 1.2 V. The new D-die DRAM runs 12.5% faster than its direct predecessor (known as Samsung C-die, rated for 3200 MT/s) and is claimed to be up to 15% more energy efficient as well. In addition, the latest 8Gb DDR4 ICs use a new in-cell data sensing system that offers a more accurate determination of the data stored in each cell and which helps to increase the level of integration (i.e., make cells smaller) and therefore shrink die size.
Samsung says that the new 8Gb DDR4 chips feature an "approximate 30% productivity gain" when compared to similar chips made using the 1x nm manufacturing tech.
UPDATE 12/21: Samsung clarified that productivity gain means increase in the number of chips per wafer. Since capacity of Samsung's C-die and D-die is the same, the increase in the number of dies equals the increase in the number of bits per wafer. Therefore, the key takeaway from the announcement is that the 1y nm technology and the new in-cell data sensing system enable Samsung to shrink die size and fit more DRAM dies on a single 300-mm wafer. Meanwhile, the overall 30% productivity gain results in lower per-die costs at the same yield and cycle time (this does not mean that the IC costs are 30% lower though) and increases DRAM bit output.
Also at Tom's Hardware.
Previously: Samsung Announces "10nm-Class" 8 Gb DRAM Chips
Related: Samsung Announces 12Gb LPDDR4 DRAM, Could Enable Smartphones With 6 GB of RAM
Samsung Announces 8 GB DRAM Package for Mobile Devices
Samsung's 10nm Chips in Mass Production, "6nm" on the Roadmap
Samsung Increases Production of 8 GB High Bandwidth Memory 2.0 Stacks
IC Insights Predicts Additional 40% Increase in DRAM Prices