SK hynix announced that it had begun sampling the industry's first 24Gb DDR5 memory chips, opening the door to 48GB and 96GB memory modules for next-generation servers, including AMD's Genoa and Intel's Sapphire Rapids CPUs. In addition, the same devices can be used to build 24GB unbuffered DIMMs for desktops and workstations. As a result of the advance, high-end servers could now come with 768GB of DDR5 on a single module.
SK hynix's 24Gb (3GB) DDR5 memory chips are made using the company's 1anm fabrication process that relies on both extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography to increase device density without sacrificing yields. SK hynix says that the new technology improves production efficiency and performance by up to 33%, indicating the significant increase in memory cell density from the new node. Since we're dealing with DDR5, the new DRAM ICs will also help reduce system-level power consumption.
The initial products based on the new 24Gb DDR5 devices will be 48GB (20 ICs) and 96GB (40 ICs) registered DIMMs with ECC for next-generation servers. Eventually, SK hynix can develop 8-Hi stacks featuring these ICs to create 24GB memory chips, and then build 768GB modules on that base. Samsung is working on similar modules but hasn't announced a sampling program yet.
SK hynix hasn't said how the new 24Gb DDR5 chips would be used for client PCs, but since system makers tend to be rather creative, we can expect client PCs with rather fancy memory configurations in the future.
The DRAM maker said that large hyperscale cloud data centers would be the first customers to adopt these 48GB and 96GB RDIMMs for their servers, but didn't elaborate. Right now, neither AMD nor Intel ship DDR5-supporting server platforms commercially, so it is possible that the first platforms to use these new high-capacity DDR5 RDIMMs could be machines running Amazon Web Services' Graviton3 system-on-chip (SoC).
"In line with the release of 24Gb DDR5, SK hynix is closely engaging with a number of customers that provide cloud services," said Kevin (Jongwon) Noh, President and Chief Marketing Officer at SK hynix.
SK hynix emphasized that it was also working with Intel to validate the new chips and modules with its upcoming DDR5-supporting server platform, codenamed Sapphire Rapids.
"Today's announcement is another illustration of our two companies working together to deliver a 24Gb solution to address the needs of our mutual customers," said Carolyn Duran, Vice President of Memory and IO Technologies in Intel's Data Center and AI Group. The 24Gb DDR5 offering provides high mono die capacity and will help customers boost performance of memory capacity bound workloads such as data analytics while bringing significant TCO benefits."