Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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6/1/2011
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Samsung Introduces Faster, Lower Power Memory Modules

The 4Gb DDR3 DIMM chips are placed in 32 Gb memory modules based on 30 nm-class chip architecture.

A year after Samsung introduced its 40 nanometer-class 4Gb DDR3 DIMM chips for servers, it has decreased the size the chip size to a 30 nm class chip lithography. The result is the release on Tuesday of Samsung's 32 GB dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) that use less power and are faster than previous memory modules.

Samsung, the largest producer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), said the modules--which are packages containing DRAM chips for use in PCs, servers and other products--are targeted at the cloud computing and advanced server systems market, with an eye toward green power efficiency.

"These new chips represent an 18% improvement with same amount of density and are using less power," said Jim Elliott, vice president of memory marketing and product planning at Samsung, in an interview. "While in the PC desktop this doesn't make a lot of difference, when you're talking about a data center using thousands of servers strung together, and you put it into the context of data centers using three percent of the electricity consumption in the country, these numbers start to add up."

Samsung's 30 nm class 4Gb DDR3 chip has an approximate 50% increase in productivity over Samsung's 40 nm class 4Gb DDR3, released in February of 2010, the company said. The new chip reaches 1,866 Mbps and uses 1.35-volts.

Samsung's other products based on its 30 nm-based 4Gb DDR3 chips include 16 Gb RDIMMs for servers and 8Gb SO-DIMMS for small form-factors systems. In 2012, Samsung expects to have more than 10% of its total DRAM chip production at the 4Gb (or higher) density, the company said.

In March, Samsung began producing similar30 nm class 4 Gb DRAM targeted at mobile devices in order to reduce power consumption and increase speed.

"Mass production of 4Gb LPDDR 2 is a tremendous advancement for the mobile industry, one that will enable our OEM customers to move quickly in launching better differentiated high-performance mobile devices into the market.," Wanhoon Hong, executive VP for memory sales and marketing at Samsung, said in a statement.

DRAM modules are projected to reach 812.8 million units in 2011, up from 733.2 million last year, according to IHS iSuppli. While growth in 2011 for DRAM modules will be slightly down from the 14.6% expansion last year, it will be ahead of the market's performance during the next four years, the firm said. Shipments of 4Gb DRAM are expected to account for approximately 10% of total DRAM shipments in 2012, 35% in 2013, and up to 57% in 2014.

Samsung is the market leader in DRAM, accounting for 39.3% of the DRAM market, down from 41.3% last year, according to IHS iSuppli. DRAM revenues for Samsung fell to $3.3 billion in the first quarter, down from US$3.6 billion in the fourth quarter last year. Moving forward, Samsung hopes to continually decrease power consumption and increase productivity through its "green memory" DRAM products by moving down the nanometer lithography, Elliott said.

"Ultimately we want to enable our end customers in the IT industry to have these very green data center build outs moving forward," Elliott said. "The key is how do I expand the data center without expanding the data center. How do I increase capacity without increasing power consumption? I think these green memory solutions are doing this and I think that's the trajectory we're trying to drive."

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