Samsung Electronics has announced that it has developed 10nm class 8-gigabit (Gb) LPDDR5 DRAM, which is an industry-first. The company brought the first 8Gb LPDDR4 to mass production in 2014, and since then, it has been setting the stage to transition to the LPDDR5 standard for use in coming 5G and AI-powered mobile applications.
The 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM joins the 10nm-class 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM and 16Gb DDR5 DRAM in Samsung’s premium DRAM lineup. The 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM has been in volume production since December 2017, and the 16Gb DDR5 DRAM was developed in February.
Samsung states that the 8Gb LPDDR5 has a data rate of up to 6400Mb/s, which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current flagship mobile devices. Current flagship mobile devices use LPDDR4X RAM with 4266Mb/s data rate. The increased data rate allows the new LPDDR5 to send 51.2GB of data, or approximately 14 full HD video files (3.7GB each) in a second.
The 10nm-class LPDDR5 DRAM will be available in two bandwidths: 6400Mb/s at 1.1 operating voltage (V) and 5500Mb/s at 1.05V. This makes it the “most versatile memory solution for next-generation smartphones and automotive systems,” according to Samsung. The performance advancement was made possible through several architectural enhancements. The company states that by doubling the number of memory “banks” – subdivisions within a DRAM cell – from eight to 16, the new memory can attain a much higher speed while reducing power consumption. It’s also said to make use of a “highly advanced, speed-optimized circuit architecture that verifies and ensures the chip’s ultra-high-seed performance.”
In terms of power savings, the 10nm-class LPDDR5 has been engineered to lower its voltage in accordance with the operating speed of the corresponding application processor when in active mode to maximize power savings. It has been configured to avoid overwriting cells with ‘0’ values. Also, the new chip will offer a deep sleep mode, which is said to cut the power usage to approximately high the ‘idle mode’ of the current LPDDR4X DRAM. The low-power features allow the LPDDR5 RAM to deliver power consumption reductions of up to 30 percent, which will have a positive impact on maximizing performance and extending smartphone battery life.
“This development of 8Gb LPDDR5 represents a major step forward for low-power mobile memory solutions,” Jinman Han (Senior Vice President of Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics) stated. “We will continue to expand our next-generation 10nm-class DRAM lineup as we accelerate the move toward greater use of premium memory across the global landscape.”
The LPDDR5 chip will be able to power AI and machine learning applications based on its industry-leading bandwidth and power efficiency, according to Samsung. It will also be UHD-compatible for mobile devices worldwide.
Together with leading global chip vendors, Samsung states that it has completed functional testing and validation of a prototype 8GB LPDDR5 DRAM package, comprised of eight 8Gb LPDDR5 chips. (It had rolled out the industry’s first 8GB LPDDR4 DRAM package in October 2016.) The company plans to begin mass production of its next-generation DRAM lineups (LPDDR5, DDR5, and GDDR6) at its latest line in Pyeongtaek, Korea.