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Samsung begins mass production of LPDDR4 memory for 4K phones

Samsung Electronics has announced that it has started mass production of 8Gb LPDDR4 memory chips for next-generation smartphones based on advanced application processors. The new handsets will feature displays with ultra-high-definition resolutions as well as new-generation system-on-chips, such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 810.

At present Samsung manufactures 8Gb and 6Gb LPDDR4 memory dies using a 20nm-class process technology. The LPDDR4 memory from Samsung is available as 2GB and 3GB chips rated to run at 3200Mb/s data-rates with 1.1V voltage setting. Thanks to dual-channel 32-bit architecture, each memory chip features peak bandwidth of 12.8GB/s, a rather unprecedented amount for a mobile memory device.

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The two-channel architecture reduces the distance data signals must travel from the memory array to the I/O bond pads. This reduces the power required to transmit the large amount of data the LPDDR4 interface requires. Because most of the area of a memory device is taken up by the memory array, doubling the interface area has a minimal impact on the overall footprint, according to JEDEC, a DRAM-standard setting organization. The two-channel architecture also allows the clock and address bus to be grouped together with the data bus. Thus, the skew between data bus to the clock and address bus is minimized, allowing the LPDDR4 chips to reach higher frequencies. This saves power and improves timing margins compared to the LPDDR3 architecture, JEDEC claims.

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Because of architectural improvements and lowered voltage, LPDDR4 is considerably more energy-efficient than previous-gen solutions. The new LPDDR4 memory consumes approximately 40 per cent less energy at 1.1 volts compared to LPDDR3.

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“By initiating production of 20nm 8Gb LPDDR4, which is even faster than the DRAM for PCs and servers and consumes much less energy, we are contributing to the timely launch of UHD, large-screen flagship mobile devices,” said Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice President of Memory Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “As this major advancement in mobile memory demonstrates, we will continue to closely collaborate with global mobile device manufacturers to optimize DRAM solutions, making them suitable for next-generation mobile OS environments.”

Samsung already ships 2GB LPDDR4 and 3GB LPDDR4 DRAM to its customers. The company claims that actual devices featuring the new memory type will hit the market in the first half of 2015. Early next year the company will also start shipments of its 4GB LPDDR4 packages to clients.

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KitGuru Says: While it is not surprising that Samsung is the first company to start volume production and shipments of LPDDR4 memory devices, it will be very interesting to see who will be the first to offer a mass smartphone with a 4K (3840*2160) UHD display resolution.

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