Samsung this week announced its first LPDDR4 memory chips made using its 10nm-class DRAM fabrication technology. The new DRAM ICs feature the industry’s highest density of 16 Gb, are rated to run at 4266 MT/s data rate, and open the door to more mobile devices with 8 GB of DRAM.

Earlier this year Samsung started to produce DDR4 memory using its 10nm-class DRAM manufacturing process (which is believed to be 18 nm) and recently the firm began to use it to make LPDDR4 memory devices, just as it planned. The thinner fabrication technology allowed Samsung to increase capacity of a single LPDDR4 DRAM IC to 16 Gb (up from 12 Gb at 20nm introduced in August, 2015) while retaining a 4266 MT/s transfer rate.

The first product to use the 16 Gb ICs is Samsung’s 8 GB LPDDR4-4266 mobile DRAM package for smartphones, tablets, and other applications that can use LPDDR4. The device stacks four memory ICs and provides up to 34 GB/s of bandwidth when connected to an SoC using a 64-bit memory bus. The 8 GB DRAM package comes in a standard 15 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm form-factor, which is compatible with typical mobile devices, but Samsung can also make the package thinner than 1 mm to enable PoP stacking with a mobile application processor or a UFS NAND storage device.

Samsung's 8 GB LPDDR4 DRAM Package
  SEC 634
DRAM IC Capacity 16 Gb
Number of DRAM ICs 4
Data Rate 4266 MT/s
Bus Width x64
Bandwidth 34 GB/s
Package 15 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm
Process Technology 10nm-class (18nm?)

Samsung has not revealed a lot about the cost efficiency or power consumption of the 16 Gb LPDDR4 ICs, nor have they discussed those details for the 8 GB LPDDR4 package either. What little Samsung has said is that the latter consumes approximately the same amount of power as a 4 GB LPDDR4-3200 device (four 8 Gb ICs) made using its 20 nm-class process technology. Taken at face value, one can extrapolate that the switch to the 10nm-class fabrication process allowed Samsung to double the capacity and increase performance by 33% at the same power. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about the geometry scaling of the new ICs relative to Samsung's older ICs, so it's hard to even guess how much Samsung's newest DDR4 costs to fab.

Samsung has not officially commented on when it plans to start commercial shipments of its 8 GB LPDDR4 packages, but it is reasonable to assume that the company will commence sales of such devices in the coming months, with actual products hitting the market in 2017.

Source: Samsung

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  • RaichuPls - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    So why is LPDDR4 going up to 4266MHz when normal DDR4 has been basically either 2400-3000?
  • ddriver - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    it is transfers, not hertz
  • SunnyNW - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    I thought when it came to dram memory the MT/s translated directly into mhz? For example a 3200mhz memory can also be classified as 3200 MT/s right?
  • ddriver - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    ddr stands for double data rate, so the clock rate would be 2133 MHz, which is the bottom for desktop ddr4, but understandable, since power efficiency is a priority for mobile devices. Also the bandwidth does seem to correlate to a clock of 2133 MHz
  • ajp_anton - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    But "regular" DDR4 at "2400-3000MHz" does have that as the effective clock, so they are 2400-3000 MT/s (or 1200-1500 MHz clock).
  • ddriver - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Hmmm, it may actually be twice as fast. My first thought was it was 128bit, but it says 64.

    Keep in mind for a desktop system ram bandwidth is ample - it doesn't really make a difference, for example quad channel shows abysmal to no gains in pretty much every software out there, prosumer stuff included.

    But mobile platforms could benefit from extra bandwidth, since their GPUs always use system RAM.
  • fatpenguin - Monday, October 24, 2016 - link

    What's this talk of "regular" DDR4? Are you referring to DIMMs? That's just a form factor, they use the same die, just in different packages (x4 or x8), on a separate circuit board with a connector.

    Also, they do sell DDR4-4266 (2133MHz clock, you're right about that) in DIMMs, so it's not any faster than desktop RAM, it's the same. Which makes sense, since it's the same die, just packaged differently.

    I don't believe any CPU memory controller exists to run DDR4 at that rate however (without overclocking), which is probably what you're referring to. No mobile controller can run at 4266 yet either, but they will get there...and so will the desktop CPUs.

    From an SI perspective, it's easier to manage a single package x64 however.
  • SunnyNW - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    But isnt desktop memory (whether ddr2, ddr3, or ddr4) always advertised with the double data rate not the effective clock rate. For example even desktop memory that is sold as ddr3 1600mhz has an actual clock of 800mhz but being that it is double data rate provides equivalent to 1600 mhz, so its advertised as such. So those desktop memory are also classified that same way as the mobile memory I thought? So if you see DDR4 2133 desktop memory its actual clock is 1066 mhz and I dont believe we have DDR4 4266 for desktop as OP mentioned.
  • SunnyNW - Friday, October 21, 2016 - link

    Edit: I meant actual clock not effective, oops and correct me if I'm wrong about this.
  • paulemannsen - Saturday, October 22, 2016 - link

    You are correct imo. ddrivers 2133 Mhz arent. He divided the MT/s by 2 to get the Mhz, which is nonsense and probably only works in a few cases. But i might be wrong on this too ;)

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