Tokyo - Elpida today announced that it will begin mass-production of Fully Buffered Dual In-Line Memory Modules in the fourth quarter of this year, providing enough supply for Intel's next-generation dual-core workstation and server platforms scheduled to launch in Q1 of 2006.
Elpida is the first large memory manufacturer to announce that it is moving from sampling into a volume production phase for FB memory modules. Aimed at the workstation and server environment, the technology promises higher density, more capacity and increased speed.
The FB-DIMMs technology foundation is common DDR2 SDRAM, but features a revised module design. All signals (clock, address, command and data) to and from the DRAM on the module are buffered at the high-speed advanced memory buffer (AMB) chip located on the DIMM. This helps to secure the DRAM timing margins during high-speed operation with a much shorter signal path between the DRAM and the AMB, Elpida said. The FB-DIMM also adopts a Point-to-Point connection on the bus between the memory controller and the DIMM, as well as between the DIMMs, which enables increased bus speed with a shorter connection path.
The company is offering FB-DIMMS in a 4 GByte version, based either on DDR2-533 (CL 4-4-4) or DDR2-667 (CL 5-5-5), which allows customers to equip a common eight-slot server with up to 32 GByte of memory. Data transfer speeds will reach 21.2 GByte per second, Elpida said.
The announced FB-DIMMs are based on 36 1 Gigabit memory devices that are built into stacked FBGA (sFBGA) packages to enable thinner modules to improve airflow and cooling performance inside of casings: Elpida said its FB-DIMMs measure 6.7 mm and are well below the JEDEC specification of a maximum of 9.8 mm.
Elpida currently sells its 4 GByte FB-DIMMs in sample numbers for $3000 (533) and $3500 (667) each. Devices with lower densities and 2 GByte, 1 GByte and 512 MByte capacities are available as well.
One of the first platforms supporting FB-DIMMs is Intel's current 945/955 (Lakeport) chipset series which is offered for the Pentium D 800 (Smithfield) processor series. The company will introduce FB-DIMM support for its Xeon processors with the arrival of the dual-core generation in the first quarter of next year. The upcoming Xeon DP platform, code-named Bensley, will use FB-DIMMs in conjunction with the Xeon DP 5000 (Dempsey-core) processor and Greencreek and Blackford chipsets. The Xeon MP's current Truland platform will be carried over to the dual-core Xeon MP 7000, code-named Paxville. Truland will be FB-DIMM capable with the launch of the E8501 chipset in Q1 2006.