Samsung’s LPDDR4 packages usher in era of 4GB phones and tablets

Samsung logoThe world is just now getting accustomed to mobile devices with two or three gigabytes of RAM, but Samsung is forging ahead by introducing its first LPDDR4 RAM products (the "LP" stands for low-power and reportedly uses 40 percent less power than comparable LPDDR3 packages). With 8Gb on each die, the usual four-die mobile memory package will allow up to 4GB of memory in the same physical footprint as last generation's 2GB packages.

We can expect system-on-a-chip (SoC) partners to begin announcing support for next generation RAM technology soon, and the ARM instruction set already features support for addressing large memory capacities. The real question is how valuable the added bandwidth and capacity will be for users.

Mobile memory bandwidth has more to do with display resolutions than with compute performance. With 3.2Gb/s of memory bandwidth, each 32-bit memory channel should be able to power a 1920x1080 display. Phone manufacturers could use this additional bandwidth to drive higher-resolution displays (though increasing display densities have a diminishing return to users, while drastically increasing the power penalty of the display) or to drive today's display resolutions while using fewer memory channels (saving die space on the SoC).

As for the increasing capacities, mobile application design has long focused on running lean memory footprints, so adding more memory would primarily allow more apps to reside in memory and improve responsiveness. As platforms move to 64-bit architectures, though, the memory footprint of those apps will expand.

Samsung's release says the LPDDR4 memory will become available at some point in 2014, and we've reached out to Samsung to get more specifics. We hope to find out more at CES next week, or at MWC in February.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: DDR4, Samsung

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