Three New Memory Technologies Keep Pace With Computing Demands
Three recent announcements reflect what's happening in the memory space—and how it correlates with advances in high-performance computing.
Memory is reaching a tipping point with advances in several fields like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), hyperscale computing, and 5G communication. As a result, researchers and semiconductor suppliers have been creating new memory technologies to meet updated industry standards. Three new products are meeting these demands.
Samsung Introduces LPDDR5X Technology
Samsung, a leader in memory technology, is continuing its pedigree with the so-called industry’s first 14-nanometer, 16-gigabit LPDDR5X (low power double data rate 5X) DRAM device.
This new memory technology is designed to go beyond mobile markets alone. Image used courtesy of Samsung
Both DDR and DRAM are not new concepts by any means, but Samsung has improved its already high-performing LPDDR5 series by increasing processing speeds (8.5 Gbps) by 30 percent while utilizing 20 percent less power. Samsung's stated applications for the LPDDR5X are AI, AR, and the metaverse. Furthermore, the company says this solution can provide up to 64 gigabytes per memory package.
Samsung envisions the new LPDDR5X series in up-and-coming chipsets for the world of digital reality. The company also plans to broaden its mobile DRAM lineup in the future.
Yangtze Ups 3D NAND Performance
While Samsung works on DRAM, Xperi Holding Corporation and Yangtze Memory Technologies are partnering to improve 3D NAND-based memory. NAND-based memory is a non-volatile technology in which read/write functionality resembles the behavior of a NAND gate. This type of technology is one of the fastest solid-state device (SSD) memory topologies.
Yangtze has a novel method of chip manufacturing called direct bond interconnect (DBI) that involves hybrid copper bonding for integrated circuit (IC) designs. This bonding method is used for 3D NAND-based designs, yielding higher densities for high-performance NAND flash memory ICs.
Wafer-to-wafer dielectric bonding process vs. a low-temperature hybrid bonding process. Image used courtesy of Invensas
Furthermore, the DBI technology enables the memory and logic circuitry to be separated. This is important because they can both utilize individual wafer processes to provide a better overall design.
KIOXIA Taps PCIe 5.0 in Enterprise and Data Center SSDs
Finally, KIOXIA America has recently introduced its own lineup of enterprise and data center form factor (EDSFF) E3.S SSDs with PCIe 5.0 technology. The PCIe 5.0 capability in these SSDs—titled the CD7 series—is the first of its kind, and KIOXIA was able to achieve this functionality by moving away from the nominal 2.5-inch form factor SSD design. The new form factor lineup is optimized for high-performance server and storage applications.
KIOXIA's new SSDs also have an improved airflow and thermal design capable of power profiles up to 70 W—much higher than today’s 2.5-inch form factor, which tops out at 25 W.
The CD7 series. Image used courtesy of KIOXIA
PCIe 5.0 and future PCIe 6.0 specifications require improved signal integrity from the current 2.5-inch form factor, and the CD7 series accounts for this. The series also cuts the number of PCIe lanes in half from 4 to 2 for twice as many device connection ports.
This new family has four different form factors based on the exact application and power requirements. Some other notable features of the CD7 series include:
- A foundation in KIOXIA's BiCS FLASH 3D TLC flash memory
- Up to 7.68 TB capacity
- Maximum 6450 MB/s read throughput
- 1050 K random read input/output operations per second (IOPS)
- 75 μs read and 14 μs write latencies
An EDSFF prototype using Kioxia's E3.S NVMe SSDs. Image used courtesy of KIOXIA
Memory Is Advancing With Computing and Connectivity
Collectively, these companies along with others are forging new paths in memory technology to respond to the strict demands of the communication and computing industries. Unlike the conversion of hard-disk drive (HDD) memories to solid-state drives (SSDs), this new revolution will continue as SSDs.
What memory advancement has affected you most in your career? Share your thoughts in the comments below.