DDR4 makes its debut at ISSCC 2012

DDR4 RAM is almost ready for the primetime and will be available next year, if the roadmaps presented this week at ISSCC 2012 are to be trusted.

According to the JEDEC roadmap, DDR4 will make a break into the server market with the ECC variant of the new memory standard, with densities of up to 32GB per DIMM, 1.2V and zooming along at 2133MHz, right where DDR3 gave up the ghost. JEDEC plans on taking the standard up to 3.2GHz, although within the foreseeable future servers will only take up to 2.4GHz.

At ISSCC 2012, both Samsung and Hynix demoed their DDR4 prototypes with 30nm and 38nm technology nodes, respectively, although mass production will begin later this year at 20nm.

DDR4 will not be pin compatible with DDR3, which was to be expected. The DDR4 specs address all the form factors and power specifications at once, but PC desktop clients will only get ‘standard’ DDR4 by mid-2014.

For now, only the South Korean memory makers are introducing DDR4, but Micron, Elpida and Nanya are expected to follow suit before the year’s end.

JEDEC also discussed the requirements for LPDDR3 (low power DDR 3), the successor to the LPDDR2 used in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. LPDDR3 will allow dual channel operation and clock for clock, twice the bandwidth, but no info was given regarding the date it will reach the market, although arguably you won’t see it on store shelves.