Samsung’s DDR4 modules for servers have quadruple-stacked memory dies

DDR4 memory is starting to trickle out, and Samsung's latest modules are particularly notable. The server-oriented RDIMMs are populated with 3D memory packages that stack multiple dies on top of one another. This so-called TSV memory is different from the firm's 3D V-NAND, which stacks multiple layers of memory cells within a single die. Samsung explains:

To build a 3D TSV DRAM package, the DDR4 dies are ground down as thin as a few dozen micrometers, then pierced to contain hundreds of fine holes. They are vertically connected through electrodes that are passed through the holes

Each TSV chip stacks four 4Gb dies. The dies are built on "20-nanometer class" fabrication technology, which is vague Samsung-speak for a process node between 20 and 30 nm. Samsung expects to be able to stack even more layers in the future, enabling higher-capacity modules. These latest ones weigh in at 64GB each.

Achieving higher densities isn't the only benefit to stacking DRAM dies. Samsung claims its TSV-infused DDR4 module "performs twice as fast as a 64GB module that uses wire bonding packaging, while consuming approximately half the power." Enterprise customers should appreciate both of those attributes.

Comments closed
    • Arclight
    • 5 years ago

    But it’s still DRAM and it will hit a wall eventually just like CPUs.

      • Pwnstar
      • 5 years ago

      Not if you keep stacking it. You can’t really stack CPUs since they put out so much heat, but RAM can be cool, slow and stacked high.

    • Bensam123
    • 5 years ago

    Cool stuff… Wonder if this will end up reducing costs and exponentially increasing memory sizes for the consumer market as well.

    • Milo Burke
    • 5 years ago

    Meh, this 32 GB DIMM of DDR4 is hotter: [url<]http://wccftech.com/samsung-launch-ddr4-32-gb-ram-memory-sticks/[/url<]

    • Mentawl
    • 5 years ago

    Oh god she’s touching the contacts /twitch twitch.

      • Terra_Nocuus
      • 5 years ago

      I know! So much for that stick.

        • Waco
        • 5 years ago

        For all the doom and gloom about ESD, I’ve yet to kill a stick of ram even with nearly complete disregard for ESD safety. 😛

          • ozzuneoj
          • 5 years ago

          I remember back in my high school computer repair class (~2002-~2003) someone handed me a stick of SDRAM and when I reached out for it I felt a small static shock on my finger and saw a tiny but visible spark of static connect with the edge of the stick. It seemed to work fine. I have no idea if it eventually failed though.

          For that matter, we also tried deliberately to kill a hard drive with a decent sized magnet and it didn’t do anything at all to the data or the operation of the drive as far as we could tell… but again I don’t know if it eventually had problems years later.

          *shrug*

          I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing any of these things, but I’ve been tinkering with computers since the late 90s and I’ve never paid much attention to ESD and I’ve never seen a component die or eventually deteriorate due to ESD. Honestly, that stick of memory is the only time I’ve ever seen\heard\noticed ESD when working on a computer, and 98% of my electronics repair time has been on a carpeted floor in a non-controlled environment.

          • NeelyCam
          • 5 years ago

          That’s because the manufacturers add ESD protection on them

          • delsydsoftware
          • 5 years ago

          The risk of ESD destroying a part goes down dramatically as you add more paths for the static charge to travel down. In a huge circuit like a motherboard, there is a pretty high chance that any ESD will be dissipated before it hits anything vital, because there are so many other components and paths for it to take. I worked in manufacturing for years and only saw 2 circuit boards which I think were nailed by ESD. The only way to tell is to put the chips under an X-ray machine and look for obvious damage. That was time-consuming, so we only did it when we were bored.

          Now, individual components are another story. We frequently had loose SRAM chips going bad (this is around 1996) because of static issues. The people on our SMD line were barely qualified to fog a mirror, and they handled some parts incorrectly. Sometimes, static would blow out part of the chip, causing an internal short. I saw a few motherboards where a hole would burn through the SRAM chip casing, and you could see a faint orange glow at the bottom of the hole. A coworker of mine had also worked at a transistor manufacturing plant in the 60s, and he said that static was the number one killer of those parts.

          But, as further proof, I noticed that the LCD screens on the Point of Sale machines we were building were accumulating a big static charge by themselves, to the point that you could stick pieces of paper to the screens and they would stick for days. I asked maintenance to look at the grounding on our workstations. We used straps, anti-static pads, and anti-static smocks. The static should have been dissipated. It turns out that a good majority of the workstations in the plant didn’t have a ground at all, and had been operating like that for 20 years.

          I’m not saying that ESD doesn’t pose a problem, because it really does in a manufacturing environment. I just think that the risk has been exaggerated for the standard consumer. It’s easy to get a motherboard with a bad component and blame static, but it’s 100 times more likely to be due to a defective part or bad QA at the factory.

      • Meadows
      • 5 years ago

      No she’s not.

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      It’s only a model.

        • Farting Bob
        • 5 years ago

        Even if she’s only a model that’s no excuse!

    • UberGerbil
    • 5 years ago

    Since Geoff didn’t mention it in the piece, TSV is industry parlance for “Through-Silicon Via” aka those tiny holes with the wires threaded through them.

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Stacked dies? Hah! About as easy as stacking pancakes!!

    Piercing dies with hundreds of holes? About as tough as sticking a fork into said pancakes!!

    /hungry troll

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Respect.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 5 years ago

    But where are the 128GB sticks? Very curious about them.

    (Both Dell and Lenovo are promising 1TB for their Haswell Xeon wortkstations, so either they’ve got 16 slots or 128GB sticks will exist).

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Samsung expects to be able to stack even more layers in the future, enabling higher-capacity modules. [/quote<] I think we'll see 128GB modules. Give it a bit.

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 5 years ago

        Why not 256GB?

          • chuckula
          • 5 years ago

          Meh… 1 TB or not impressed.

            • UnfriendlyFire
            • 5 years ago

            My 13 year old desktop has a 32GB HDD, and 256MB RAM. I also have an old USB stick that had 32MB of capacity.

            Think about that.

            • mnecaise
            • 5 years ago

            The machine I learned on had 64kB of RAM and no hard drive. But neither machine will run the CAD software I use. So…

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]the DDR4 dies are ground down as thin as a few dozen micrometers, then pierced to contain hundreds of fine holes.[/quote<] Oh man, they are REALLY going to feel that in the morning.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      Acupuncture is real

    • Krogoth
    • 5 years ago

    I’m impressed.

    With this tech DDR4 has the potential to have DIMMs in 256GiB-512GiB range. In the near-future it may be possible to build a Haswell-E rig with 1 or 2TiB of memory capacity (holy RAMdisk batman!). Granted, such modules go north of $2,000+ per DIMM.

      • wingless
      • 5 years ago

      You’re impressed?! IMPOSSIBLE!

        • Wirko
        • 5 years ago

        Not really. It’s just a hole in the time-space-frequency-latency-price continuum that tends to recur every 32.3136*10^6 seconds or so.

        [url<]https://techreport.com/news/25247/tr-bbq-x-sets-records-for-attendance-epic-uses-of-fire?post=753108[/url<]

      • Grigory
      • 5 years ago

      Krogoth is… wait, what?

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH OUR KROGOTH??!?!?!?!!?

        • ronch
        • 5 years ago

        When you keep dissing big companies’ products and say you’re not impressed with what they worked so hard on, somebody from those companies is bound to get you.

        • UberGerbil
        • 5 years ago

        [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA0kNGaYrtg[/url<]

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