This year at IDF, Intel demonstrated new high-capacity DDR3 memory featuring MetaRAM technologies
Intel will demonstrate at IDF this week Hynix’s newly announced 16GB DDR3 2-rank DIMM. This high capacity registered dual in-line memory module has been made possible by MetaRAM’s DDR3 MetaSDRAM technology, allowing for up to 4 times more mainstream DRAMs to be used while still remaining a drop-in solution. Intel will also be demonstrating a system at IDF featuring 144GB of DDR3 memory using the technology.
MetaRAM was launched back in January 2006 by AMD’s former CTO, Fred Weber. It wasn’t until earlier this year that what the company was up to would be known, with the introduction of an 8GB DDR2 RDIMM using their technology. The technology offers advantages such as increased capacity without reducing the frequency of the DDR3 memory channel, and because it uses mainstream DRAM, it remains a cost effective solution. It is a drop-in solution too, meaning standard DIMM power and thermal envelope are used. If one were using three such 16GB modules, one could create a system with 48GB of memory, avoiding the cost of a more customized solution to achieve the same feat. There is also a power savings due to the reduced number of modules needed for high-capacity systems.
MetaRAM’s technology works by stacking and craming up to four times more DRAM chips onto the module. To make such a beast work though requires a bit of fitness, which is provided by a special chipset on the module. The MetaRAM chipset works transparently, seen as a memory controller to the on-DIMM DRAM, yet seen by the system’s memory controller as DRAM. The chipset is then able to route the reads and writes appropriately between the DRAMs and memory controller, in an out-of-order execution, allowing the memory to still operate at standard frequency. To help remain in the required power envelope, a power-saving mode is introduced to keep unused modules asleep.