Samsung has really made a name for itself in the world of dynamic RAM over the last decade. They were one of the first major tech firms to make the move to a 20-nanometer process back in 2014, and they are again at the head of the pack and making headlines for their latest DRAM innovation. Less than two years has passed since the implementation of the 20-nanometer process and the Korean OEM has already managed to halve that figure – the first in their field to do so. As of this week, Samsung has begun mass production of what it bills as the world’s first DDR4 DRAM chip that uses the now smallest 10-nanometer semiconductor fabrication process. To the average consumer, this means faster and more efficient memory for laptops, PCs and hybrids.
While Samsung has already released the 10-nanometer NAND flash for SSD’s and several other products, shrinking DRAM down to that size is considerably more difficult. Since volatile memory requires a capacitor to go with the transistor, all the components must be significantly smaller. Multiply that problem by 8 million (the number of cells in this particular chip) and you’re looking at a mind-boggling puzzle of pieces. Samsung says they approached this size problem by improving their quadruple patterning technology, where multiple lithographic exposures are taken to increase the resolution of chip features. The end product is a chip that is 30 percent faster and 10 to 20 percent more power efficient than their last-gen 20-nanometer RAM - an enormous step forward in the world of computing. Memory speed is an important factor that helps to determine exactly how fast data moves through a computer. Samsung’s new memory chips will offer a top speed of 3,200MHz, which is quite an improvement from the 2,400MHz offered by their previous DDR4 memory chips.
DRAM is a critical component of computing systems, as it is where data is temporarily stored while information is being processed. In-memory application processing has also become a hot topic among tech firms as it is not only faster, but also reduces the amount of data shuffled between storage and DRAM. With Samsung’s new memory chips, even in-memory databases will become faster. The new Samsung 10-nanometer chips will have a capacity of 8 Gigabits, which means that a single chip will be able to accommodate 1GB of memory. The new chips will have a starting capacity of 4GB for notebooks and PCs and go all the way up to 128GB for enterprise servers. It is still unclear as to when exactly the new memory will ship, but modules are said to be available later in 2016. The next step for Samsung will be to introduce a 10-nanometer-class mobile DDR4 DRAM for smartphones and mobile devices, which the company says will “solidify its leadership in the ultra-HD smartphone market”.
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