Samsung fires up fabrication of "10-nm class" DDR4 RAM

There's an old saying among IT folks that Intel is the 800-lb gorilla in the CPU space. That description also fits Samsung when it comes to memory fabrication. The Korean company has now unveiled its first 8Gbit DDR4 RAM chips built on a "10-nm class" process, a name which Samsung uses to describes process nodes ranging from 10 to 19 nm.

According to Samsung, the new fabrication process allows for 8Gbit RAM chips rated at 3,200 MT/s, substantially faster than the company's equivalent 20-nm chips rated for 2,400 MT/s. Not only are the new chips faster, they're less power-hungry, too—Samsung estimates power consumption to be 10% to 20% lower than chips from the previous generation. The improved fabrication process also nets Samsung a 30% improvement on wafer productivity, too.

Samsung expects to be shipping RAM modules with capacities from 4GB to 128GB throughout the year, targeted at products ranging from notebooks to servers. The company also says it'll make use of the new technology in high-density, high-speed mobile DRAM products set to be released later this year.

The company says this RAM's improved characteristics make it ideal for both mobile and HPC server scenarios. In order to create chips with such a high density, Samsung's engineers made use of argon fluoride immersion litography (avoiding the usage of EUV litography) with a quadruple patterning process, as well as a new process that more uniformly applies ultra-thin dielectric layers.

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