Smartphones have pretty insane storage capacity, up to 16GB in some places, but there is still nothing beyond RAM for PCs, servers, and HPCs. There are three digits of memory in these computers, but the main limit is how many RAM chips can fit in a module. If you can put more RAM in a single stick, you can have more memory in the same number of slots, and Samsung’s new 512GB DDR5 DRAM module definitely breaks the boundaries not only in terms of capacity or speed, but also in terms of the technology used.
Not only is the new module from Samsung the first to be based on the new DDR5 specification, but it also claims to be the first to have this high capacity manufactured using a High-K Metal Gate or HKMG process can be. As DRAM components get smaller, the insulation layer, which is supposed to prevent electrical currents from escaping, also gets smaller. The solution Samsung found was to replace the usual silicon-based insulator with new metals and materials, which is exactly what HKMG is doing.
Moving to HKMG and reducing power loss also has other benefits for the 512GB DDR5 memory. Samsung was able to reduce power consumption by 13% while increasing performance to 7,200 MB / s, which is twice that of DDR4. These are exactly the properties that are sought in DRAM for energy efficient data centers.
Samsung is no stranger to the HKMG process as it was used back in 2018 for its GDDR6 memory for graphics cards – another first in the industry. In addition to Through-Silicon Via (TSV) technology, which is already used in many DRAM products, Samsung is the only one on the market that can achieve this level of performance.
That said Samsung’s HKMG-based 512GB DDR5 memory is still in the review phase. However, don’t expect it to be available to consumers even after that, as the company is targeting customers in the AI and machine learning, exascale computing, and data center sectors instead.