The current paradigm has become increasingly complex, said Black, and HMC is a significant shift. It uses a vertical conduit called through-silicon via (TSV) that electrically connects a stack of individual chips to combine high-performance logic with DRAM die. Essentially, the memory modules are structured like a cube instead of being placed flat on a motherboard. This allows the technology to deliver 15 times the performance of DDR3 at only 30% of the power consumption.
Even though DDR4 memory modules have been around in quantity for a short time, people are resistant to change. And the need for speed, whether it’s SSD’s stymied by SATA-2 data throughput or being married to DDR4 ram modules, is still pretty constant. But many manufacturers and analysts wonder aloud, “isn’t this speed good enough?”. That is true to an extent, the current OSes and chipset/motherboard manufacturers are perfectly happy cranking out product supporting the current state of the art. But know one wants to be the first to continue to push the ball of compute speed down the field. At least this industry group is attempting to get a plan in place for the next gen DDR memory modules. With any luck this spec will continue to evolve and sampled products will be sent ’round for everyone to review.
Given changes/advances in the storage and CPUs (PCIe SSDs, and 15 core Xeons), eventually a wall will be hit in compute per watt or raw I/O. Desktops will eventually benefit from any speed increases, but it will take time. We won’t see 10% better with each generation of hardware. Prices will need to come down before any of the mainstream consumer goods manufacturers adopt these technologies. But as previous articles have stated the “time to idle” measurement (which laptops and mobile devices strive to achieve) might be reason enough for the tablet or laptop manufacturers to push the state of the art and adopt these technologies faster than desktops.
Covering the evolution off desktop commodity computer technologies has been fun going back to the days of Computer Shopper. I used to look at all the different specs, and standards and technologies. We’ve gotten faster CPUS, graphics cards, PCI buses, hard drives and now Solid state disks instead of hard drives. What’s left to innovate? Well let’s take a look at the lowly Dynamic Random Access Memory chip shall we? Or more specifically how that chip is packaged up onto a circuit board the Dual Inline Memory Moducle (DIMM). Read On:
Invensas, a subsidiary of chip microelectronics company Tessera, has discovered a way of stacking multiple DRAM chips on top of each other. This process, called multi-die face-down packaging, or xFD for short, massively increases memory density, reduces power consumption, and should pave the way for faster and more efficient memory chips.
Who says there’s no such thing as progress? Apart from the DDR memory bus data rates moving from DDR-3 to DDR-4 soon what have you read that was significantly different, much less better than the first gen DDR DIMMS from years ago? Chip stacking is de rigeur for manufacturers of Flash memory especially in mobile devices with limited real estate on the motherboards. This packaging has flowed back into the computer market very handily and has lead to small form factors in all the very Flash memory devices. Whether it be, Thumb drives, or aftermarket 2.5″ Laptop Solid State Disks or embedded on an mSATA module everyone’s benefiting equally.
Wither stacking of RAM modules? I know there’s been some efforts to do this again for the mobile device market. But any large scale flow back into the general computing market has been hard to see. I’m hoping this announcement Invensas is a real shipping product eventually and not an attempt to stake a claim on intellectual property that will take the form of lawsuits against current memory designers and manufacturers. Stacking is the way to go, even if it never can be used in say a CPU, I would think clock speeds and power savings requirements on RAM modules might be sufficient to allow some stacking to occur. And if the memory access speeds improve at the same time, so much the better.
- Laptop Memory Upgrade – Notebook RAM Types & Prices (apparichith.wordpress.com)
- What are advantages of ddr2 over ddr1 (wiki.answers.com)
- Single-Chip DIMM To Replace Big Sticks of RAM (hardware.slashdot.org)