Memory cubes promising a 15x speed boost take a step closer

Memory cubes promising a 15x speed boost take a step closer

Summary: The specification for memory cubes designed to offer 160GBps bi-directional bandwidth has been finalised.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware
6

High performance memory cubes took a step closer yesterday after the specification for their architecture was finalised.

Prototype versions of the memory cube chips have been demonstrated swapping data with the system some 10 times faster than the DDR3 memory in use today, while consuming 70 per cent less energy per bit.

3d-hmc-pic
A cross section of memory based on the Hybrid Memory Cube architecture. Image: HMC

The final spec for the memory cube chips was agreed by the more than 100 members of the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) consortium, including major memory chip producers Micron and Samsung.

The speed of the memory cube's throughput relative to conventional memory used today comes from a change of architecture.

Memory based on the new HMC spec places a vertical stack of DRAM on top of a high speed logic controller and connects the stack with conductive channels called through-silicon via bonds. This results in a dense package with very short signal paths between layers.

The prototype HMC module tested last year managed a bidirectional aggregate bandwidth of 128GBps, compared to the 11GBps of DDR3 and the 18GB to 20GBps of DDR4.

The faster interface of the cube memory is designed to provide the additional bandwidth required by high performance computers, such as exascale systems, and networking equipment needed to support 100 and 400 gigabit network infrastructures, which would be bottlenecked by the bandwidth and interfaces on conventional memory architecture.

The memory cubes are also smaller, requiring some 90 per cent less space than today's RDIMMs.

The first memory based on the HMC specification is expected to be available in 2GB capacity, and is targeted to have a bi-directional aggregate bandwidth of up to 160GBps, some 15 times that of DDR3.

The next goal for the consortium is to develop standards for even faster memory interconnects, increasing data rate speeds from 10-to-15 Gbps to 28 Gbps for short reach and from 10 Gbps to 15Gbps for ultra short reach interconnects. The next-generation specification is projected to gain consortium agreement by the first quarter of 2014.

Topic: Hardware

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Super computing aside

    It's technology is going to be very useful in future mobile devices as the cost falls.

    Given, they will not be taking full advantage of the massive speed increases, however, seeing as how arm powered phones and tablets are already hitting 2GB of ram, i'd expect the space and power saving benefits this technology offers to be driving force enough as the production cost falls.
    MarknWill
    • yes....

      True but 2Gb running 10-15x faster than current 2GB might not NEED to be 4GB or 8GB. If the data transfer rate is that much, then a system could be optimized to use the speed rather than the space...not to mention that obviously, 2GB would be the initial, with increases probably coming quite quickly after that......also, if the space used is that much smaller, then you could stack Ram chips easily.
      Stormborn
      • I'd still expect ram levels to increase

        To prevent bottlenecking at the ssd chip. Well that is until non volatile memory takes over. ;)
        MarknWill
      • I'd still expect ram levels to increase

        To prevent bottlenecking at the ssd chip. Well that is until non volatile memory takes over. ;) if this technology can be combined with the potential offerings or non volatile memory, things could be getting crazy fast in the not too distant future
        MarknWill
      • I'd still expect ram levels to increase

        To prevent bottlenecking at the ssd chip. Well that is until non volatile memory takes over. ;) if this technology can be combined with the potential offerings for non volatile memory, things could be getting crazy fast in the not too distant future
        MarknWill
    • ..

      Shoot, if it's 90% smaller, you could put 4 modules in and STILL have more space.
      Stormborn