Samsung working on high-capacity DDR5 modules, that's when they will arrive

Samsung working on high-capacity DDR5 modules, that's when they will arrive

Samsung working on high-capacity DDR5 modules

Samsung said this week that it is working on 24Gb DDR5 memory devices at the request of its customers operating cloud data centers. These integrated circuits will allow the company to create modules with capacities up to 768GB for servers and PCs. In addition, Samsung has revealed some peculiarities about its DRAM technology which uses Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) lithography.

Samsung has already shown its 512GB Registered DIMM (RDIMM) memory module in action which uses 32 stacks of 16GB based on eight 16Gb DRAM devices. By using 24Gb memory ICs in an 8-Hi stack, the company could increase the capacity of one stack to 24GB and that of the 32-chip module to 768GB. Using this RDIMM, a server CPU with eight memory channels and support for two modules per channel could be equipped with over 12TB of DDR5 memory. Additionally, Samsung could build 96GB, 192GB, or 384GB modules for mainstream servers that don't use more than one RDIMM per channel, but could still take advantage of the additional capacity. For client applications, using 24Gb memory chips instead of 16Gb ICs could increase module capacity by 50%, so the commercialization of 24GB and 48GB DDR5 modules in the future is by no means excluded. >
Credit: Samsung Increasing the capacity of a memory IC twice (from 16 to 32 Gb) is challenging as it becomes increasingly difficult to reduce DRAM transistors and capacitor structures as new process technologies do not provide more tangible improvements in node-to-node density. For example, Samsung refers to its more advanced DUV-only manufacturing process as a 15nm node, while its latest D1a technology, which is based on five-layer EUV, is called 14nm.

Such a marginal step forward, from 15nm to 14nm, is conditioned by Samsung's conservative approach and reluctance to increase the risks associated with the use of new equipment, as well as the aggressive increase in density. Previously, the company had not disclosed the number of EUV layers used by D1a. By using EUV instead of DUV multi-patterning, Samsung has reduced the number of process steps and DRAM costs. Samsung is currently sampling its 14nm D1a-based 16Gb DRAMs with customers and plans to begin mass production in the second half of 2021.

Perhaps for competitive reasons, Samsung has not disclosed when it intends to launch production of 24Gb DDR5 DRAM. To meet immediate needs for ultra-high-capacity DDR5 memory modules when Intel Xeon Scalable “Sapphire Rapids” processors hit the market in mid-2022, Samsung will launch 512GB RDIMMs based on 16Gb devices. Therefore, 24Gb-based high-capacity modules will likely be available later, unless there are customers willing to ship them as soon as possible without the usual lengthy validation process.

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