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Memory chips

Samsung widens lead over rivals with industry’s first advanced DDR5

By Mar 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Samsung's HKMG-based 512GB DDR5 memory module.
Samsung's HKMG-based 512GB DDR5 memory module.

Samsung Electronics Co. has extended its lead in memory chips over its rivals by unveiling the industry’s first 512 gigabyte DDR5 module based on High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology.

With the development of a new memory, Samsung is expected to strengthen its business partnership with Intel Corp., the largest US chipmaker and one of Samsung’s major clients.

Delivering a data transfer rate of 7,200 megabits per second (Mbps), over double that of conventional DDR4, the latest memory is suitable for data-hungry supercomputing, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, Samsung said in a statement on Mar. 25.

At this speed, the hardware can transmit two 30GB ultra-high-definition movies in a second, the company said.

According to the South Korean tech giant, using HKMG technology for the insulation layer reduces current leakage compared to other memory. The technology will allow the latest memory to use around 13% less power than its predecessors, making it especially suitable for energy-consuming data centers, the company said.

HIGH PERFORMANCE YET ENERGY EFFICIENT

The new chip is also good for edge computing, a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed to improve response times and save bandwidth, it said.

Samsung first used HKMG technology in 2018 with GDDR6 used in GPUs.

“Samsung is the only semiconductor company with logic and memory capabilities and the expertise to incorporate HKMG cutting-edge logic technology into memory product development,” said Sohn Young-soo, vice president of Samsung’s DRAM memory planning and enabling group.

Samsung Electronics is processing a wafer.
Samsung Electronics is processing a wafer.

“By bringing this type of process innovation to DRAM manufacturing, we are able to offer our customers high-performance, yet energy-efficient memory solutions to power the computers needed for medical research, financial markets, autonomous driving, smart cities and beyond.”

Samsung said it used the through-silicon via (TSV) technology to stack eight layers of 16GB DRAM chips for the module with the largest capacity of 512GB.

TSV was first used in DRAM in 2014 when Samsung introduced server modules with capacities up to 256GB.

STRENGTHENING TIES WITH INTEL

Analysts said the new DDR5 memory will help Samsung strengthen its business cooperation with Intel, which is developing next-generation platforms for edge computing and cloud data centers.

“Intel’s engineering teams closely partner with memory leaders like Samsung to deliver fast, power-efficient DDR5 memory that is performance-optimized and compatible with our upcoming Intel Xeon Scalable processors, code-named Sapphire Rapids,” Carolyn Duran, Intel’s vice president and general manager in charge of its memory business.

Samsung said it is currently sampling different variations of its DDR5 memory products to customers for verification and certification with their leading-edge products to accelerate superspeed computing, networking and other data-intensive workloads.

Samsung is the world’s largest DRAM memory chipmaker with $7.17 billion in DRAM revenue, accounting for 41.2% of the global market, as of the third quarter of 2020, according to market researcher Omdia. Local rival SK Hynix Inc. comes second with $4.93 billion revenue and a 28.3% market share.

Write to Su-Bin Lee at lsb@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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