The eggheads over at HP Labs announced that they're putting their brains together with the geeks at Hynix Semiconductor to turn memristor technology into a shipping product, one that will take the place of all kinds of storage mediums.
"We believe that the memristor is a universal memory that over time could replace flash, DRAM, and even hard drives," says Dr. Stanley Williams, HP Senior Fellow and IQSL (Information and Quantum Systems Laboratory) founding Director.
The two companies will jointly develop the once theoretical technology in the form of Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM), a non-volatile memory constructed from materials that change resistance when applying voltage.
Where this technology ultimately leads is wide open. HP Labs says ReRAM will see use first as a replacement for flash memory with chips that run no less than ten times faster while using ten times less power than their flash memory counterparts. But looking longer term, memristors can also perform logic functions and could eventually perform computational tasks where data is stored, leading to much faster PCs.
When you think of memory, Samsung probably isn't the first name to come to mind, but perhaps it should be. No other company produces more DRAM, and in the second quarter of 2010, Samsung further distanced itself from all competitors.
"Samsung's memory business long has pursued a strategy of taking the leadership in investment in new manufacturing processes, allowing it to be the first to move to advanced semiconductor process geometries, and thus enabling the company to make semiconductors at a lower cost and at greater efficiency than its competitors," said Mike Howard, senior analyst for DRAM technology at iSuppli. "The company's aggressive push into 40nm semiconductor lithography for DRAM manufacturing boosted the volume of its bit production dramatically. Meanwhile, Samsung's broad DRAM portfolio, including high-end devices like mobile and legacy parts, allowed it to achieve an ASP higher than the industry average."
Samsung cranked out 1.2 billion 1Gb density equivalent DRAM units in the second quarter, a 13 percent increase over its first quarter production and enough to pull in revenues of $3.8 billion.
While Samsung is flying high, Micron (Crucial's parent company) showed the weakest growth among the top-five DRAM suppliers in the second quarter. Micron's revenues rose by 4.1 percent to $1.43 billion, which iSuppli blames on manufacturing challenges at the company's Inotera facility.
If you're looking to squeeze one last DDR2 upgrade out of your aging rig before moving to a DDR3 platform, you might want to go shopping now rather than put it off for another day. According to reports, Kingston Technology raised the prices for its DDR2 modules by 7 to 10 percent, prompting other memory makers to follow suit.
Further driving prices up, chip suppliers are currently in the process of converting production capacity to DDR3, resulting in a limited supply of DDR2 parts.
While you're shopping for memory, don't expect DDR3 prices to get any cheaper either, sources say. Those purportedly in the know say that current DDR3 prices don't have any wiggle room for further reduction in the third quarter, especially as stockpiles have started to run low.
Kingston has zeroed in on water cooling enthusiasts with its latest memory line, the HyperX 'H2O' series. Available in dual- and triple-channel packages, these kits run up to 2133MHz and include water cooling barbs integrated onto the heatsinks.
"Water cooling is desirable for its quiet operation and long-term reliability. We are bringing HyperX H2O to market as a solution for PC enthusiasts who want to build water-cooled systems using high quality Kingston products," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston®. "HyperX H2O is a natural extension of Kingston’s offerings for performance users. Our goal is for users of all levels and interests to have a Kingston product that meets their needs."
Kicking off the line are three kits, including:
4GB DDR3-2000 (CL9-11-9-27 @ 1.65V), two sticks
4GB DDR3 2133 (CL9-11-9-27 @ 1.65V), two sticks
6GB DDR3 2000 (CL9-10-9-27 @ 1.65V), three sticks
All three kits are available now, with pricing set at $157 (4GB DDR3-2000), $205 (4GB DDR3-2133), and $235 (6GB DDR3-2000).
There's nothing wrong with thinking small, especially in the technology sector. Take Elpida for instance, Japan's DRAM market leader which just announced the development of a 2Gb (gigabit) DDR2 Mobile RAM. According to Elpida, this is the DRAM industry's smallest ever LPDDR2 chip.
"The new 2Gb DDR2 Mobile RAM was developed to target the smartphone and tablet PC markets," Elpida explains. "In addition to featuring low operating voltage of 1.2V, it achieves a 1066Mpbs high-seed data transfer rate and can reach 8.5GB/s for a 64-bit system configuration. Because it uses roughly 30 percent less operating current compared with Elpida's existing 50nm products, the new Mobile RAM is an eco-friendly DRAM that contributes to extending the operating time of mobile devices."
Elpida says its new DDR2 chip is the company's bread and butter product from its 40nm process line at its Hiroshima plant. Samples of the chip will begin shipping in August, with mass production slated for September.
The memory standards committee known as the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association announced the publication of JEDEC DDR3L, which the association says will enable a significant reduction in power consumption for a boatload of products that utilize memory, including laptops, desktops, servers, networking systems, and a a range of digital devices.
Those of you donning your detective caps might have guessed that the "L" in DDR3L stands for "Low Voltage," and you'd be right. Devices that adhere to the new standard will operate from a single 1.35V power supply voltage compared to 1.5V in existing devices, JEDEC said.
DDR3L-based memory devices will consume 15 percent less power compared to standard DDR3 (sometimes more), and a whopping 40 percent less than standard DDR2, all without taking a performance hit. The upshot here is longer battery life and cooling running devices.
Elpida Memory is well known among the home consumer crowd, but that might change in the coming months. The Japanese DRAM maker this week expanded an alliance with Spansion, the former flash venture between Fujitsu and AMD, and plans to start selling its own branded NAND flash memory products.
"The alliance with Spansion and the licensing of Spansion NAND IP enable Elpida to develop advanced NAND products which, when combined with our leading DRAM products, allows us to better service markets including cellular handsets and digital consumer," said Yukio Sakamoto, president and CEO of Elpida, in a statement.
Venturing into NAND flash memory is somewhat of a new venture for Elpida, which up to this point has focused primarily on DRAM-related products, such as memory for PCs and servers, and memory chips for graphics boards and mobile products.
G.Skill didn't just go and release an ordinary 48GB kit of RAM, if such a thing can ever be ordinary, but according to G.Skill, this is also the world's only hand-picked, hand-tested, ultra-high capacity DDR3 memory kit for workstations.
The kit consists of 12x4GB memory modules clocked at 1,900MHz, each one outfitted with the company's Ripjaws series heatsink. Obviously home users need not apply, and further limiting their utility, G.Skill says its new kit is intended exclusively for EVGA's Super Record 2 (SR-2) motherboard.
So what's the point? Bragging rights, for one. But as a workstation kit, 48GB can come in handy for 3D rendering, data modeling, scientific applications, and other specialized tasks.
No word yet on price or availability, but let's be real, we're just here to gawk, right?
Samsung on Monday claimed an industry first by announcing it has begun mass producing 2Gb (gigabit, not gigabyte) Green DDR3 using a 30nm manufacturing process.
"We’re seeing a sharp rise in demand for DDR3 chips and are meeting that need with the timely introduction of 30nm-class Green DDR3 solutions," said Soo-In Cho, president, Memory Division, Semiconductor Business, Samsung Electronics. "Thirty nano-class DDR3 DRAM will deliver the most satisfying user experience possible, offering extremely high performance and reduced power consumption for PC and server applications designed to capitalize on new multi-core processors."
According to Samsung, these environmentally sound memory modules are capable of reaching up to 1.866Gbps at 1.35V, while PC modules can ramp up to 2.133Gbps at 1.5V. That's 3.5 times faster than DDR2 and 1.6 times faster than 50nm DDR3, Samsung says.
So how does this translate into the real world? According to Samsung, 30nm-class 4GB DDR3 kits for PCs can operating up to 60 percent faster than two 50nm-class 2GB DDR3 solutions, all while using 65 percent less power.
Planning a new build this summer, or just looking to upgrade your rig? The good news is you should have plenty left over after picking up a DDR3 memory kit. Citing un-named "industry sources," news and rumor site Digitimes says contract quotes for DRAM chips continued to fall this month.
In particular, 2GB DDR3 modules have dropped between 2-4 percent to $44, and that's just the beginning. Sources say that some module makers and IC distributors are selling the same density chips for as low as $37 per unit. What this all means is lower priced RAM by the time memory vendors put together a kit and toss it into the retail sector.
If you can't muster up the funds for a memory kit straight away, don't sweat it. Those same sources say that prices for DDR3 parts will probably drop even more in the second half of 2010, the result of memory makers ramping up production from moving to smaller manufacturing processes.