Samsung has unveiled a new RAM module that shows the potential of DDR5 memory in terms of speed and capacity. The 512GB DDR5 module is the first to use High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) technology and offers speeds of 7,200 Mbps, more than double that of DDR4, Samsung said. Right now it’s aimed at supercomputing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning functions, but DDR5 will eventually make its way to regular PCs, powering games and other applications.
Samsung first used HKMG technology in 2018 with GDDR6 chips used in GPUs. Developed by Intel, it uses hafnium instead of silicon, with metals replacing normal polysilicon gate electrodes. All of that allows for higher chip densities, while reducing current leakage.
Each chip uses eight layers of 16 Gb DRAM chips for a capacity of 128 Gb or 16 GB. As such, Samsung would need 32 of them to make a 512GB RAM module. In addition to the higher speeds and capacity, Samsung said the chip uses 13 percent less power than non-HKMG modules – great for data centers, but not too bad for regular PCs, either.
With speeds of 7,200 Mbps, the latest module from Samsung would offer transfer speeds of around 57.6 GB / s on a single channel. In Samsung’s press release, Intel noted that the memory would be compatible with its next-generation Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” scalable processors. That architecture will use an eight channel DDR5 memory controller, so we could see multi-terabyte memory configurations with memory transfer rates up to 460GB / s. Meanwhile, the first consumer PCs could arrive in 2022 when AMD unveils its Zen 4 platform, which is rumored to support DDR5.