Smartphones are starting to sport rather insane amounts of memory, up to 16GB in some places, but that still has nothing over RAM for PCs, servers, and HPCs. Memory in those computers number in three digits but are mostly limited by how much RAM chips can be fit in a module. If you can cram more RAM in a single stick, you can have more memory in the same amount of slots, and Samsung’s new 512GB DDR5 DRAM module definitely breaks the barriers not just in capacity or speed but in the technology used.
Samsung’s new module is not just its first based on the new DDR5 spec, it also claims the title of being the first with that high capacity to be made using a High-K Metal Gate or HKMG process. As DRAM components get smaller, so does the insulation layer that’s supposed to prevent electrical currents from leaking. The solution Samsung found was to replace the usual silicon-based insulator with new metals and materials which is exactly what HKMG does.
The switch to HKMG and lowering current leakage also have other benefits for the 512GB DDR5 memory. Samsung was able to reduce power consumption by 13% while also increasing performance to 7,200 MB/s, noted to be twice that of DDR4. These are the very same traits that are sought after in DRAM designed for energy-efficient data centers.
Samsung is no stranger to the HKMG process, having used it for its GDDR6 memory for graphics card back in 2018, another first in the industry. Along with Through-Silicon Via (TSV) technology that it already uses for many DRAM products, Samsung boasts that it is the only one in the market capable of pulling off such a feat.
That said, Samsung’s HKMG-based 512GB DDR5 memory is still in the verification stage. Even after it passes that, however, don’t expect it to be available to consumers as the company is targeting customers in AI and machine learning, exascale computing, and data center industries instead.