More Adventures down DDR3 lane

April 16, 2007 | 17:48

Tags: #2007 #80nm #ddr3 #ic #idf #modules #production #spring

Companies: #cebit #hynix #samsung

IDF SPRING 2007 We're going to have to wait until day one or two before Intel reveals the performance figures and next generation systems featuring DDR3 memory, but today Intel allowed us hacks to take a stroll around the yet-to-be-finished demonstration area featuring Intel's partners.

Naturally a couple of DDR3 manufacturers caught this journalist's “technologist's” eye (so says my Visa), and I popped them a couple of questions regarding yields and production that had offered such a dismal response back in CeBittenhoff.

Firstly, Hynix was showing off a 2GB strip of DDR3 rated 1066MHz and with rather loose timings of 7-7-7 (you read that right -- Ed) and said it was getting pretty good yields despite what others, like Nanya, have said to be suffering. (OT: The company representatives remained tight lipped about their GDDR4 production however).

A quick stroll around the corner and I bumped into Samsung who offered a greater depth of detail: it isn’t making its DRAMs at 70nm like this poor hack was lead to believe was a standard. Instead Samsung is sticking with good old 80nm as it costs just as much to make the memory chips larger for the same density as DDR2.

Samsung's spokesperson explained that because of the increment in speed, and greater bit-depth prefetch (upped from four to eight), this means that you need bigger cells with larger silicon gaps to cope: making the overall die bigger. Samsung won't move to 70nm until DDR3 saturation reaches a critical point of one million units and didn’t expect to be there until Q2 next year.

So, while new tech will not only sell for a premium it’ll be more expensive because it either requires a new process or a more silicon, depending on what modules you buy.

A final quick question I asked Samsung before I left was if it was going to ever sell performance memory again, like Micron is currently doing with its popular D9 DRAM chips, was snuffed at. Basically, Samsung sees no monetary gain in supplying anyone other than OEMs and doesn’t want people putting high voltages through their memory then killing its sticks. It’s simply a matter of why put the effort in if there isn’t much money to be gained. One wonders what an equally huge corporation like Micron see in the business then...

Looking forward to DDR3? Or couldn't you give two shakes of a cats tail? Let us know in the forums, and remember: stroking those kitties reduces stress.
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