Intel and Micron Reinventing DRAM with Hybrid Memory Cube Technology

Paul Lilly

One of the many awesome things coming out of this year's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) is a new DRAM concept Intel claims will deliver a 7-fold improvement in energy-efficiency over today's DDR3 modules. It's called Hybrid Memory Cube and Intel is working closely with Micron to turn this concept into a shipping product. So what exactly is a Hybrid Memory Cube?

Short and to the point, Hybrid Memory Cube technology uses a 3D stacked memory chip configuration that forms a compact cube. By placing a multi-layer DRAM stack on top of a logic layer, Intel says it's like building a high-speed subway system underneath the streets, bypassing roadblocks presented by the DRAM process and routing restricted memory arrays.

"Additionally, the adjacent logic layer enables integration of an intelligent control logic to hide the complexities of the DRAM array access, allowing the microprocessor memory controller to employ much more straightforward access protocols than what has been achievable in the past," Intel stated in a blog post .

Intel says the Hybrid Memory Cube prototype is the world's highest bandwidth DRAM device with sustained transfer rates of 1 terabit per second, and also the most energy efficient DRAM the planet has ever seen, at least when measured in bits transferred versus energy consumed. In addition to being 7 times more energy efficient than today's DDR3 technology, it also has 10 times the bandwidth.

"This research could lead to dramatic improvements in servers optimized for cloud computing as well as Ultrabooks, televisions, tablets, and smartphones," Intel says .

Image Credit: Intel

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