Korean chip maker Samsung Electronics has begun mass production of advanced DDR4 memory for enterprise servers in next-generation data centers.
The Thursday announcement from Samsung delivered an implied message: Make no mistake, this is an important step for the kingpin memory maker, the enterprise servers and next-generation, large-scale data centers that will also use DDR4 memory technology.
The DDR4 signals the most advanced memory of its kind. DDR stands for double data rate, and the latest memory advance succeeds DDR3. Samsung's DDR4 memory modules are based on 20 nanometer (nm)-class process technology, compared with conventional DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) that uses a 30nm-class process technology. The key advantages will translate into faster, more efficient servers.
Samsung said DDR4 will allow the company to support what it sees as a real need in rapidly expanding, large-scale data centers and other enterprise server applications. That need is for a balance of higher system level performance, lower overall power consumption, and lower operational costs.
The numbers support Samsung's pitch. The 4Gb-based DDR4 has a super-fast data transmission rate of 2,667 megabits per second, which is a 1.25-fold increase over 20nm-class DDR3. Nonetheless, data center operators who will be examining Samsung's sales story are likely to be just as interested in the power-savings angle. The DDR4 will be lowering power consumption by over 30 percent, Samsung said.
Time To Switch?
Outside Samsung, the question has been raised about timing. Analysts have seen the technology glitch before in operating systems for PCs and mobile devices, where a vendor rushes out the next big thing only to find customers sticking with their recent investments and willing to do so for some time.
Similarly, the worry here is that the market targeted by Samsung may not be eager to transition so quickly from the DDR3 memories designed into servers.
Samsung nonetheless appears confident that the timing is right. "By adopting DDR4 memory technology early, OEMs can minimize operational costs and maximize performance to provide more favorable returns on investments," according to the announcement.
After all, according to Samsung, this is the ultra-high-speed DDR4 for next-generation server systems. "The adoption of ultra-high-speed DDR4 in next-generation server systems this year will initiate a push toward advanced premium memory across the enterprise," said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales and marketing, Samsung Electronics.
Samsung's announcement that it is mass producing DDR4 comes five years after the company introduced its 50nm-class DDR3 in 2008.
DDR4 is the latest version of the double data-rate interface standard for synchronous DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) as published in 2012 by the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) Solid State Technology Association.
JEDEC develops open standards for the microelectronics industry, and this standard was defined to provide better performance, better reliability and reduced power. As such, said JEDEC, DDR4 represents a significant achievement relative to previous DRAM memory technologies.