Samsung roadmap outlines DDR4 plans through 2014

Micron showed off a fully functional DDR4 module back in May. Others are working on the next-gen system memory, including Samsung, which showed a 16GB DDR4 module at the Intel Developer Forum this week. The registered DIMM is laden with 30-nm memory chips rated for operation at an effective 2133MHz.

X-bit labs saw the module in addition to a roadmap that outlines Samsung’s DDR4 plans. The new memory type is expected to hit 2400MHz next year, 2666MHz by 2014, and 3200MHz some time after that. I guess it’s time to start talking about memory speeds in terms of GHz rather than MHz. Looks like the required voltage is set to remain steady at 1.2V, although the DDR4 spec hasn’t been finalized yet. According to X-bit labs, the standard is 98% complete.

While it’s unclear what’s holding up the standard, platforms supporting DDR4 aren’t exactly imminent. Intel will reportedly hold off on using the new memory type until 2014.

Unlike DDR3, which supports multiple modules per memory channel, DDR4 appears to be limited to one DIMM per channel. That may be disappointing news for people who tend to upgrade their systems gradually over time. Seems like folks don’t add system memory as often as they used to, though.

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    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    wow, they are starting off with 16gb sticks? fo shizzle? so 32GB sticks should soon follow. bring on 256GB of total system RAM!…even though I have no idea what software can harness that level of power.

    of course intel is holding back. the i3,5,7 milking train is still running solid, and their lame roadmap doesnt show much for it. hopefully that wont stop AMD from pushing through.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      RAM drive.

        • sherlock
        • 7 years ago

        What would be the boot speed of Windows on 32 G Ram Drive? .2 Seconds?

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    What I’m particularly interested in seeing is how the massive densities of RAM will impact things on the development side. What do developers do when they have some people using perfectly good systems from a few years back with 1 GB and modern-day systems with 64-128 GB? Doesn’t somebody, by necessity, need to be screwed here?

    What are we going to be using all this RAM for?

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    I might be way off base, but I wonder if we’ll soon be reaching a point where it will make more sense to put cheaper, slower RAM in computers because Intel can use its huge process advantages to integrate massive (> 1 GB) caches directly into the CPU. It seems that Intel has decided (probably correctly) that there’s no point in putting more than four cores into anything outside of Xeons. For now, they’re spending transistors on integrating better GPUs, but eventually they’ll hit the point of diminishing returns on that, too. Wouldn’t memory integration be a logical next step?

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      Intel puts six cores in i7’s right now- though they’re in workstation-focused LGA2011 packages, and for the price they might as well be Xeons. So I can mostly agree with the ‘not in except Xeons point’.

      On-die caches have been around for quite some time in smaller and larger quantities, but they’re really not that big of a deal. Intel’s CPUs are so very good at precaching what they need, that adding bandwidth doesn’t make much of a difference.

      The highlight of DDR4 will be that Intel can go to a single memory channel on most parts without losing any performance. Whether we see the cost reduction from the reduction in platform size is anyone’s guess, but it would be nice regardless.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      It’s not easy to just create a large cache. As caches get larger, they also get slower. A general rule of thumb is double the cache size and double the latency.

      You also have the issue that caches are “n-way”. It’s similar to doing a modulus on the memory address and two separate memory addresses could give the same result and collide, causing the more recent one to evict the older one. So the larger the cache, the less efficient it becomes at storing data.

      At some point the cache will become slower than RAM and be constantly evicting data, so inefficiently used.

      At this point you’re just better off using RAM.

      Then you have the whole problem that cache already represents most of the size of modern desktop CPUs and the size of the CPU almost exclusively determines the price.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Why would one channel per DDR4 stick be a bad thing? That just means people could add memory one stick at a time and it wouldn’t matter… And each stick of memory effectively functions as it’s own channel.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 7 years ago

      You lose bandwidth going one stick at a time. For max speed you must have all slots (and, therefore channels) populated.

      Also, see UberGerbil’s comment.

        • jdaven
        • 7 years ago

        I guess I don’t understand. It seems that the DDR4 method is way better.

        DDR3 – one stick, one channel
        DDR4 – one stick, one channel
        DDR3 – two sticks, two channels
        DDR4 – two sticks, two channels
        DDR3 – three sticks, two channels (!!!)
        DDR4 – three sticks, three channels (more bandwidth)
        DDR3 – four sticks, two channels (!!!)
        DDR4 – four sticks, four channels (even more bandwidth)

        And with memory densities increasing, each stick will probably start at 16GB so only one stick is already more than enough memory. But you can have 64GB and four channels with DDR4 using 4 sticks.

          • TravelMug
          • 7 years ago

          Except that what you are comparing a 2 channel DDR3 system to a 4 channel DDR4 system. You can have your “four sticks, four channels” with DDR3 if you are running a high-end Xeon system, or you can have the “three sticks, three channels” with consumer grade products. This info was about the amount of DIMMs per channel. For example you have a motherboard with 6 DIMM slots and a 3 channel memory controller on the CPU, so you have 2 slots per channel. The info about DDR4 suggested that you can’t have all of those populated with fully enabled DIMMs, because you can only have 1 DIMM per channel, so your 6 slots could only hold 3 DIMMs.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Each dimm is a channel for DDR4…

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      If you only have dual channel memory, then you can only have 32GB of ram with 16GB sticks.

      If you’re building a server, then you’ll probably have 3-4 channels, but 128GB isn’t a whole lot anymore these days.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Hmmm…. if 16GB is the first run for DDR4, then this will possibly offset almost immediately. This also depends on how many channels new chips made with DDR4 support will have.

        I can see what you’re saying now. It’s sorta interesting. I believe I had a argument with people who said each channel can only have two dimms attached to it for DDR2/3, but there really was no limitation on that.

    • willyolio
    • 7 years ago

    you know, if microsoft manages to have windows 9 continue the trend of keeping requirements low, i’d seriously consider a RAM drive with the densities we’d see from DDR4.

    • colinstu12
    • 7 years ago

    There will be options for switched memory banks that will allow multiple sticks per channel with DDR4. (read about it here: [url<]http://goo.gl/ahcyU[/url<] ) This is most likely going to be a server-only option though. Regardless, with 8GB DIMMs prevalent and lowering in price... 16GB of ram for a dual channel system is fairly decent. 32GB for a quad channel system etc. 16GB dimms already exist in the server space but those haven't trickled down into the consumer space yet though.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Part of DDR4 will include making some big increases in DIMM density so that you aren’t hit as hard by the one DIMM per channel limit on consumer-grade hardware.

      It makes sense that AMD and Intel are holding off on DDR4 in the consumer space until 2015 or so, while beginning to introduce it in servers in 2014. Considering that DDR3 is already in the speed range of the low-mid tiers for DDR4, the DDR4 technology will need to mature before there are real benefits in the consumer space.

      If this sounds like deja-vu from the transition to DDR3 from DDR2 then it is… and if around 2008/2009 the transition from DDR2 to DDR3 sounded like deja-vu from the transition to DDR2 from DDR1, then it was.

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        Yep. Of course that’s not going to change the bitching we’ll see in a few years from people who buy a pair of 32GB DIMMs and then have to pull their existing 16GB DIMMs to replace them, rather than just slotting them in alongside. (“Damn it, I spent almost as much on these old DIMMs a year ago, I want 96GB instead of just settling for 64!”)

        You’re right, the various DDR transitions all have a sense of deja-vu about them — including the comments from people who don’t seem to (or aren’t old enough to) remember the last one. There is one difference this time: for various reasons (macro-economic and tech-political) DDR3 has stuck around much longer than past generations, so it’s much more mature and prices on even the largest densities have had a chance to fall into very reasonable ranges. The transition to DDR3 happened before 4GB DDR2 DIMMs had really gotten cheap; likewise the transition to DDR2 happened before 2GB DDR1 DIMMs had fallen so low. Thus it didn’t take long (as the next gen prices dropped) before there was a real density incentive to move on. But this time around, 8GB DIMMs have fallen to the point where there’s not much premium over 4GB; and meanwhile, system requirements really haven’t budged. So DDR4 will have a bigger hurdle to overcome, and it will take longer (as prices drop) before enthusiasts and OEMs see much reason to make the transition. At least, anywhere but in servers — which is of course why we’ll see it there first (Haswell-E?)

          • DragonDaddyBear
          • 7 years ago

          Are there any major applications for the “average” user that are memory bandwidth limited? I’m rocking 4 GB DDR2 Q6600 on Win7 and it’s doing just fine for me.

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            Nope- that’s why they’re able to stick that level of technology (or less!) in tablets today.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        From what I remember DDR1, DDR2, and DDR3 transition happened immediately when the tech was available for Intel and AMD. AMD only played it safe between the DDR 2-3 transition, but Intel was also seeding the market and creating a demand for DDR memory (even though they both sold chipsets and CPUs that still supported the older memory standards while they were transitioning).

        I generally see this as a bad thing as a lack of supply will create a lack of demand. Then you’ll end up in a stagnate chicken and the egg scenario. People can’t demand what isn’t available and then people say there is no demand because of the aforementioned. Same thing applies to 10Gbps at home.

        The technology has to be available first. You can’t just expect technology to hit the market fully mature, the market helps technology mature. DDR2 and 3 hit the market and they were roughly as fast as the older variant (sometimes slower).

        There is no deja-vu here because DDR4 simply isn’t available. There aren’t dimms or platforms for it to be bought for. No one wants to do the work of seeding because it costs money, because there is a downside for it. Intel went with this very same strategy for TB.

        It’s not like you’re REQUIRED to buy DDR4. Even during transitions you can still buy older tech, but it’s important that newer tech is available.

      • My Johnson
      • 7 years ago

      Yes, I like the doubling of density more than I care for the speed. The speed is mere icing.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Looks like the required voltage is set to remain steady at 1.2V, although the DDR4 spec hasn't been finalized yet. According to X-bit labs, the standard is 98% complete.[/quote<] I'm sure it can be downvolted somewhat. And termination changes will save power. The real revolution comes with Hybrid Memory Cube, though Frizzd

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