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Monday, December 30, 2013
Samsung, SK hynix Develop LPDDR4 Chips

Both Samsung Electronics and SK hynix have developed new LPDDR4 (Low Power DDR4), the next-generation mobile DRAM chip to be used in high-end devices from late next year.

Samsung said that it has developed an eight gigabit (Gb), low power double data rate 4 (LPDDR4), mobile DRAM.

Memory chip capacity is measured in gigabits, but device memory is measured in gigabytes. Mobile memory chips are typically packaged in groups, so four 8Gb chips would give a device 4GB of memory.

Samsung's new high-speed 8Gb LPDDR4 mobile DRAM will provide a high level of density, performance and energy efficiency for mobile memory applications.

The 8Gb LPDDR4 is fabricated on 20-nanometer (nm) class process technology, and offers 1 gigabyte (GB) on a single die, which is the largest density available for DRAM components today. With four of the 8Gb chips, a single 4GB LPDDR4 package can provide the highest level of performance available today. Today, Samsung sells 4Gb and 6Gb DDR3 memory chips used in devices with 2GB and 3GB of memory, respectively. The new memory paves the way for devices with 4GB memory onboard.

In addition, Samsung's new 8Gb LPDDR4 uses a Low Voltage Swing Terminated Logic (LVSTL) I/O interface, which was originally proposed by Samsung to JEDEC and has become a standard specification for LPDDR4 DRAM. Based on this new interface, the LPDDR4 chip will enable a data transfer rate per pin of 3,200 megabits per second (Mbps), which is twice that of the 20nm-class LPDDR3 DRAM now in mass production. Overall, the new LPDDR4 interface will provide 50 percent higher performance than the fastest LPDDR3 or DDR3 memory, according to Samsung. Also, it consumes approximately 40 percent less energy at 1.1 volts.

Samsung's new 8Gb LPDDR4 DRAM will be available in 2014.

SK Hynix also announced on Monday that it has developed an 8Gb (Gigabit) LPDDR4 (Low Power DDR4) using its 20nm class technology. It also works at 3200Mbps and ultra low-voltage of 1.1V.

The company plans to start mass production of it from the second half of next year. The new interface LPDDR4 is expected to be loaded onto flagship mobile devices at the end of 2014 and is SK Hynix anticipated that the memory will be commercialized regularly from 2015. Plus, it is expected to be the main product in the industry from 2016.

In July this year, Samsung and Sk Hynix reached an agreement to share patents for chip-making technnologies. However, officials of both companies insist that they did not collaborate in developing these new LPDDR4 chips.

The demand for more memory on mobile devices is increasing particularly as operating systems and apps get bigger and as mobile OSes move toward multitasking. LPDDR4 could also give a push to 64-bit mobile processors, such as Apple's A7 and Samsung's upcoming Exynos chips.

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