Samsung rolls out 40nm memory for servers

The 32GB module, composed of 40nm-class DDR3 chips, is aimed at advanced servers that need high-density, high-performance features
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Samsung on Monday began shipping samples of a high-density memory module for server systems, a 32GB module based on a 40nm manufacturing process.

The module has been built for use in high-end servers that require high-density and high-performance features combined with low power consumption, the Korean company said.

Samsung first began producing 40nm-class DRAM memory in July, and said it is pushing toward a 30nm process in the second half of 2010. These advanced manufacturing processes promise to make modules more efficient, allowing capacity and speed increases while reducing power usage.

"Our...implementation of 40nm-class technology is indicative of our determination to move toward the 30nm-class process node in the second half of this year. Our 30nm-class technology will provide even more advanced memory solutions for high-end server and PC applications," said Soo-In Cho, president of Samsung Electronics's memory division, in a statement.

Samsung said it will begin mass-producing the module in April.

The 32GB RDIMM is made up of 36 dual-die, 40nm DDR3 chip at 4Gb each. Samsung said a dual-CPU, two-way server could be outfitted with 12 of the modules for a total memory capacity of 384GB. That compares with a previous maximum density of 192GB per server, achieved with 16GB modules.

The increase in memory would mean a power increase of less than five percent, according to the manufacturer.

Alternatively, 12 16GB modules could be replaced by six 32GB modules for the same 192GB density. That would produce a DRAM operating speed increase of 33 percent, from 800Mbps to 1,066Mbps, and a power-usage decrease of 40 percent, according to Samsung.

The company said it sees 2TB of DRAM becoming commonplace on high-end four-way servers, allowing them to run new classes of memory-hungry applications.

According to market figures released by Gartner on Monday, Samsung was the second-largest semiconductor manufacturer, after Intel, controlling 7.7 percent of the market in 2009, with a market share increase of 1.7 percent. The company was one of the few chipmakers to see its revenue increase in 2009, partly because its main DRAM and Nand flash product lines had already seen strong declines in 2008, according to Gartner.

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