Micron Makes Way for 5G with Fifth Gen of DDR DRAM, Bumping Data Access Speed by 50%
Micron says their LPDDR5 DRAM will allow 5G smartphones to have 6.4 Gbps peak processing while improving power efficiency by 20%.
Micron has released new memory chips that will be available in 6 GB, 8 GB, and 12 GB versions with data speeds of 5.5 Gbps and 6.4 Gbps. These speeds are becoming increasingly necessary to prevent data bottlenecks in today’s blazingly fast 5G and AI applications.
LPDDR5. Image used courtesy of Micron
Micron claims that its new LPDDR5 chips are the world’s first low-power DDR5 available today in mass production. The company has shipped a number of devices to Xiaomi, where they will be incorporated into the forthcoming Xiaomi Mi 10.
According to Dr. Raj Talluri, senior vice president and general manager of the mobile business unit at Micron, “Micron’s leadership in delivering the industry’s first low-power DDR5 DRAM for use in a smartphone will accelerate enablement of 5G and AI applications.”
He goes on to state that “Our customers and partners require next-generation memory solutions, based on the latest process technology, that drive unmatched power and performance to support 5G and AI systems. Micron’s LPDDR5 DRAM addresses those requirements with a 50% increase in data access speeds and more than 20% power efficiency compared to previous generations.”
Chang Cheng, vice president at Xiaomi Group, feels that Micron's new LPDDR5 “will be the standard configuration for all flagship devices in 2020."
LPDDRAM stands for low-power, double data rate, synchronous dynamic random access memory.
Micron’s LPDDR5, as well as the older LPDDR2 and LPDDR4 versions, offer special -40℃ to +125℃ temperature ranges that are targeted directly at automotive applications.
Specifics vary greatly but it is safe to say that in general, DDR5 will have about twice the speed and twice the memory density of DDR4. In addition, there will be significant power savings.
MegaTransfers per second (MT/s) is an important definition to keep in mind. If memory transfers take place twice in a clock cycle, a 500 MHz clock leads to 1000 MT/s. The LPDDR5 clocks at 3.2 GHz, enabling the 6.4 Gpbs peak processing.
Because LPDDR4x is reaching maximum bandwidth, Micron says LPDDR5 brings new use cases for instance for mobile use. Image used courtesy of Micron
According to Micron’s product flier, LPDDR5 densities of up to 128 Gb are possible. This much memory contained in one chip means great savings in board space. The current configuration of the x64 LPDDR5 is four 16-bit channels.
According to Micron’s product catalog, there are also LPDDR production versions now available with depths ranging from 48 GB to 96 GB. For example, the MT62F1536M64D8CH-031 WT has a density of 96 Gb. The depth is 1.536 Gb and width is x64.
To save power, Micron’s LPDDR5 can operate with as little a 0.5 V core voltage.
Micron claims that the LPDDR5 offers all-day battery life. Image used courtesy of Micron
Other power-saving features include a partial-array self-refresh (PASR), which saves power by refreshing only critical data. Deep power-down (DPD) is an ultra-low power mode that can be employed when retention of data is unnecessary
The PoP package allows the LPDDR to be stacked on top of the processor to save board space. The units are also available in a JEDEC-standard fine-pitch ball grid array (FBGA) ballout.
It is expected that during the first half of 2020, Micron’s LPDDR5 will be available in a Universal Flash Storage (UFS)-based multichip package. UFS technology enables greater speed and less power consumption.
Around the Industry
It appears that Micron and Xiaomi may not quite have the field to themselves.
Samsung claims that its LPDDR5 also hits a speed of 6.4 Gbps with a power reduction of 45% when compared to LPDDR4.