Samsung is accelerating its DDR4 ramp up in order to keep up with Intel’s Xeon launch schedule. DDR4 won’t be available on desktop platforms for a while, but the first servers parts with DDR4 support are coming soon.
Samsung is not alone in the DDR4 push. Earlier this week SK Hynix announced that it has developed 128GB DDR4 modules based on 8Gb chips built on the 20nm node. Last week Micron said it is ramping up production of its DDR4 products.
On the whole DDR4 is expected to deliver a 35 percent power improvement compared to DDR3 in addition to higher speeds.
Samsung DDR4 may enjoy early lead
It is still too early to talk about performance, but Samsung may have an early lead in the DDR4 space. Samsung says the first modules will coincide with the introduction of next-generation Xeon E5-2600 v3 products, so it might be the first outfit to have enough inventory in time for launch, in all form factors.
Jim Elliott, Samsung Semiconductor corporate VP, said the goal is to create a “bigger market” for DDR4 in the second half of the year. He believes Samsung’s high density DDR4 modules will allow OEMs to launch next-generation enterprise servers soon.
“Samsung’s new 20nm process technology will play a major role in driving DDR4 adoption in conjunction with the launch of the future Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 product family,” said Geof Findley, director, PMO Memory Enabling & Applications Engineering, Intel Corporation.
Findley said the integration of Samsung DDR4 memory will drive higher performance and lower power consumption in the enterprise and data centre markets.
More speed and efficiency
Samsung says it is ramping production of its entire family of DDR4 modules, based on 20nm 4Gb chips. The line-up includes DDR4 RDIMMs, LRDIMMs, and ECC SODIMMs, as well as x4, x8 and x16 DDR4 chips.
Samsung says its DDR4 LRDIMMs, RDIMMs, and ECC SODIMMs are available globally in densities from 8GB to 64GB at speeds of 2133 to 2400 Mbps. As for Intel, the first DDR4 loving Xeons with should appear soon, but we don’t have an exact date yet. The first Intel parts to support DDR4 will be Xeon E5-2600 v3 Haswell-EP chips. CPU World reports the new parts are coming in late Q3, which gives memory makers roughly six times to get ready for launch.
In addition to 2600-series parts, Intel is expected to launch Broadwell based Xeon E3 parts in Q1 2015, along with Xeon E7 v3 Haswell-EX parts and E5-4600 v3 chips. There is still not much info on upcoming Broadwell Xeons or for that matter rumoured Haswell-EP parts that should complement the 2600-series, namely the E3-2400 v3. Details are too sketchy and we can only speculate.
However, most of our readers don't really care about server DDR4. The big question is when will the new standard come to mainstream desktop platforms? We are hearing some conflicting info, but usually it takes one generation, so we should see the first desktop DDR4 implementations late next year. Once again, we can't say for sure. Extreme Edition platforms should get DDR4 support a bit sooner, but this is a relatively tight niche and it's not exactly mainstream by any stretch of the imagination.