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Samsung releases 256 GB DDR4 RAM modules

256 GB of RAM might be overkill for desktop and laptop PCs, but servers will really benefit from these new modules. (Source: Samsung)
256 GB of RAM might be overkill for desktop and laptop PCs, but servers will really benefit from these new modules. (Source: Samsung)
Using the 10 nm manufacturing process, Samsung managed to pack 256 GB or RAM on a single stick, proving that DDR can offer a viable alternative to Intel's Optane and 3DXPoint technology. The 256 GB RAM modules are only available for servers at present, while desktop and laptop PCs get 32 GB per module, but it will not be long before these capacities hit the mainstream markets.

Mainstream desktop and laptop PCs nowadays pack at most 32 GB of RAM, while the standard is still 16 GB and has remained the same for around 3-4 years now. Servers, on the other hand, do not really have a limit and there are cases where 1 TB of RAM is just the entry-level solution. Samsung, as one of the major DRAM module and chip manufacturer just released its newest 16 Gb DDR4 RAM chips, which will be integrated in a large assortment of modules suitable for desktops, laptops and servers, with up to 256 GB of RAM on a single stick.

Since there is never enough RAM for servers, Samsung has now prepared the hefty 256 GB module that should reduce the acquisition costs for enterprise clients. Samsung was able to fit that much RAM on a single stick thanks to the jump to its in-house 10 nm manufacturing process. These server modules will come in LRDIMM and RDIMM formats and will feature frequencies of up to 2.93 GHz, with 21 to 24 ns CAS latency. Because the 10 nm stepping also reduces power requirements, Samsung managed to maintain the 1.2 V voltage per module, as required by JEDEC.

Desktops and laptops also get new unbuffered DDR4 modules, but only up to 32 GB per stick.  Clocks for these modules are set at 2.66 GHz and the CAS latency was reduced to 19 ns. HEDT processors like AMD’s Threadripper series and Intel’s upcoming Cascade Lake already support up to 2 TB of memory, but no mainstream motherboard can accommodate more than 128 GB at the moment. With the arrival of 256 GB models, motherboard manufacturers should soon raise the capacity to at least 1 TB.

Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing for any of these new modules. As RAM prices have increased in recent months, modules like these will most likely come at a considerable premium.


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Bogdan Solca, 2018-09- 7 (Update: 2018-09- 7)