Samsung develops new DRAM for 5G, AI features of smartphones

Ruben Fields
July 20, 2018

Samsung revealed July 16 that it has successfully developed the industry's first 10 nanometer-class, 8-gigabit LPDDR5 (Low-Power, Double-Data-Rate) DRAM (dynamic random access memory). This chip offers a data rate of 6400 megabits per second (Mbps) which is touted to be 1.5 times as fast as the other DRAM chips used in current flagships of today.

Finally, the LPDDR5 technology is trickling down to smartphones and the Samsung smartphones will be the first set of devices to use this technology on its upcoming flagship smartphones and companies like Apple, Google, OnePlus, and Xiaomi might follow the suite in the coming days. Nevertheless, it represents an advancement over Samsung's previous generation DRAM.

Samsung will release the 10nm LPDDR5 DRAM chips in two variants-a 6,400 Mb/s chip operating at 1.1V and a slightly slower 5,500 Mb/s chip that runs at 1.05V. Decreasing the distance between components on a chip saves power, while also speeding up performance.

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Alongside the architectural improvements to hold down peak power usage, Samsung also has several innovations to reduce average power use. Samsung, in cooperation with global chip vendors, has completed functional testing and validation of a prototype 8GB LPDDR5 DRAM package, which comprises eight 8Gb LPDDR5 chips. The LPDDR5 chip has been engineered to lower in voltage in accordance with the operating speed of the application processor, when in active mode. Additionally, it doesn't overwrite cells with "0" values. Power consumption has been cut by up to 30 percent to improve performance of smartphones and extend their battery life.

Power consumption has been reduced with Samsung's new LPDRR5 tech, with a new "deep sleep mode" that slices the power consumption to half of what current LPDDR4X offers in "idle mode", which is impressive. They have already selected their factory in Pyeongtaek, Korea as the production site once they being mass production.

More speed is surely a good thing in general, but it should be especially good at powering AI and machine learning, and it's also UHD-compatible.

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