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Friday, April 12, 2013
Intel Expects DDR4 To Become Mainstream Next Year

Intel claims that DDR4 memory will become mainstream next year and will almost replace DDR3 by the end of 2015. In addition, the company sees mobile DRAM to gain bit share in the following years, driven by tablet and smartphone demand.

DRAM vendors will start offering engineering samples of DDR4 this year. According to Intel, DDR4 consumes 35% less power and offers a 50% performance boost in terms of bandwidth compared to DDR3L. Their main difference is the number of banks within the DRAM; DDR4 doubles the number of banks to 16, offering a double data rate -- up to 3.2Gbps. DDR4 is also more reliable, as ADDR / CMD parity has been added.

Research firm iSuppli forecasts that the DDR4 DRAM market will reach the 23% in 2014 and the 45% in 2015. The research firm also predicts a crossover with DDR3 in late 2015.

The latest PCs and servers come with DDR3 SDRAM and mobile devices have just started getting a type of low-power memory called LPDDR3 (low-power DDR3). At IDF 2013 in Beijing, SK Hynix semiconductor showcased LPDDR3 mounted on a reference board powered by Intel's Haswell SoC version for ultrabooks, expected to launch in the third quarter of this year.

JEDEC is also developing a new LPDDR4 specification for tablets and smartphones and it will be many years before DRAM is used in mobile devices. LPDDR4 specification for tablets and smartphones LPDDR4 speeds are 3200MBps~4266MBPs, which is translated to a bandwidth of 25.6GB/s~34.1GB/s. Compared to LLPDDR3, voltage has been also lowered to 1.8V/1.1V/1.1V (XDD1/2/CA/Q). The new low-power memory has also a new HS_LVCMOS interface (HSUL_12 for LPDDR3).

JDEDEC will release the final specifications for LPDDR4 by the end of this year.

SK Hynix also showcased prototype DDR4 DIMM modules.

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