Samsung Develops Industry’s First 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM Chip

Samsung announced that it had developed the industry’s first 10nm-class 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM. Most, if not all, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and Ultrabooks, employ some sort of low-power DDR (LPDDR) memory. The last update to the LPDDR specification was introduced four years ago in the form of LPDDR4. Although Samsung itself later proposed LPDDR4X, a variant of LPDDR4 last year, it never really caught on. Now the South Korean IT giant is once again laying the stepping-stone for the transition to a new LPDDR specification.

Samsung's goal is to provide a high-speed solution for future 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered mobile devices with its 10nm-class LPDDR5 DRAM chips. The company's upcoming 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM chip flaunts a data rate of 6,400 Mb/s, which effectively is 1.5 times faster than current LPDDR4X offerings that top out at 4,266 Mb/s. To put it into a real-world perspective, LPDDR5 is capable of transferring 51.2GB of data, or roughly fourteen 3.7GB full-HD videos, per second.

Samsung will release the 10nm LPDDR5 DRAM chips in two variants--a 6,400 Mb/s chip operating at 1.1V and a slightly slower 5,500 Mb/s chip that runs at 1.05V. Samsung claims that it was able to achieve this level of performance thanks to several architectural enhancements. For starters, the company has doubled the number of memory "banks" from eight to 16 to allow for higher speed at lower power consumption. The 8Gb LPDDR5 chips also take advantage of a highly optimized circuit architecture to guarantee that the chip is performing up to its ultra-high-speed specification.

As expected, the LPDDR5 chip comes with several low-power features that reduce power consumption by up to 30%. When in active mode, the chip can automatically lower its operating voltage to sync with the operating speed of the application processor. Additionally, it doesn't overwrite cells with "0" values. Lastly, the forthcoming LPDDR5 chip employs a refined 'deep sleep mode' to lower its power usage to half of the 'idle mode' implemented in LPDDR4X chips.

Samsung has successfully tested and validated its prototype 8GB LPDDR5 DRAM package with its partners. The prolific DRAM manufacturer is eager to begin mass production as soon as the LPDDR5 specification is formalized.

Zhiye Liu
News Editor and Memory Reviewer

Zhiye Liu is a news editor and memory reviewer at Tom’s Hardware. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • lorfa
    I think the article should explain how you go from 6400 megabits/second to 51.2 gigabytes/second (64x).
  • TJ Hooker
    @lorfa DDR RAM has 64 data pins, each of which would be transferring data at that speed. 64 x 6.4 Gb/s = 409.6 Gb/s = 51.2 GB/s.