Anyone who's built a PC lately knows that if you want fast memory, modules based on Samsung's RAM are probably the clearest choice. The company's memory might get even faster pretty soon. Samsung just announced that it's moving a second-generation of its "10-nanometer class" DDR4 DRAM into mass production. The new chips step performance up to 3600 MT/s (compared to 3200 MT/s for the previous generation) and simultaneously reduce power usage by about 15 percent, all without significant changes to the process technology involved.
How did Samsung do it, then? The company says it used "a high-sensitivity cell data sensing system" and "a progressive 'air spacer' scheme" to manifest the upgrades. We've heard of air gaps being used in some layers of Intel's high-performance processes for CPUs in the past, so seeing them in DRAM is interesting indeed. Besides the performance and efficiency gains of these generational advancements, Samsung also says that the new second-generation DDR4 is its densest ever.
We tend to worry most about desktops and laptops here at TR, but the improvements Samsung is touting in this RAM will obviously be of greatest benefit in the mobile realm where space, power, and interface width are all tightly constrained. Samsung says it will continue production of its first-generation parts alongside the new stuff, too, an unsurprising move given the seemingly insatiable demand for DRAM right now.
What's perhaps most exciting is that the company says these advancements will allow it to accelerate production of DDR5, HBM3, LPDDR5 and GDDR5 memories for next-generation products. Samsung doesn't say when the second-generation DRAM will be hitting the market, but it does say validation with CPU manufacturers has finished, so expect it sooner rather than later.