Laptops, tablets could pack more DDR4 memory with Samsung breakthrough

Samsung's 10-nm class DRAM module

Samsung's 10-nm DRAM chips have 8-gigabit capacity.

Credit: Samsung

Samsung is bringing faster, more power-efficient DDR4 memory to PCs, hybrids, and servers

Samsung wants to cram faster and more power-efficient DDR4 DRAM in laptops and hybrids with new memory chips it introduced on Monday.

The South Korean company has started mass production of DDR4 memory chips based on the cutting edge 10-nanometer class process. The first 8-gigabit chips will also go into servers.

The new DRAM is faster and more power-efficient than DDR4 memory made using the older 20nm class process, the company claims.

DRAM is critical to computing systems. It is where data is temporarily stored as information is being processed. 

The speed of the memory partly determines how fast data moves through a computer. The new memory chips have a top speed of 3,200MHz, faster than the 2,400MHz on the company's older DDR4 memory chips.

Like CPUs and graphics processors, DRAM is also getting more power-efficient as chips get smaller. The new modules will draw 10 to 20 percent less power than DDR4 memory made using the older 20nm class process.

DDR4 memory first reached servers in 2014, and Samsung sees its faster DRAM helping large-scale server applications. In-memory application processing is a hot trend as it is faster and reduces the amount of data shuffled between storage and DRAM. In-memory databases will become faster with Samsung's new DDR4 DRAM.

Samsung will make 10nm-class DDR4 memory with capacities starting at 4GB for notebook PCs up to 128GB for enterprise servers. The company didn't say when it'll ship the memory, but modules will become available this year.

Later this year, Samsung will also introduce 10nm-class mobile DDR4 DRAM for smartphones, which the company says will "solidify its leadership in the ultra-HD smartphone market."

Smartphones are already available with low-power DDR4, also called LPDDR4, so Samsung may be referring to a faster form of DDR4 memory that could fit into handsets. Improvements in the new manufacturing process could make Samsung's regular DDR4 as power-efficient as LPDDR4.

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