Samsung's HBM2 will be ready before you are

Subject: Memory | February 15, 2016 - 05:59 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, HBM2, Data Memory Systems

Samsung is ready to roll out the next generation of High Bandwidth Memory, aka HBM2, for your desktop and not just your next generation of GPU.  They have already begun production on 4GB HBM2 DRAM and promise 8GB DIMMs by the end of this year.  The modules will provide double the bandwidth of HBM1, up 256GB/s of bandwidth which is very impressive compared to the up to 70GB/s DDR4-3200 theoretically offers.

Not only is this technology going to appear in the next genertation of NVIDIA and AMD GPUs but could also work its way into main system memory.  Of course these DIMMs are not going to work with any desktop or mobile processor currently on the market but we will hopefully see new processors with compatible memory controllers in the near future.  You can also expect this to come with a cost, not just in expensive DIMMs at launch but also a comparible increaset in CPU prices as they will cost more to manufacture initially. 

It will be very interesting to see how this effects the overall market; will we see a split similar to what is currently seen in mainstream GPUs, a lower cost DDR version and a standard GDDR version?  The new market could see DDRx and HMBx models of CPUs and motherboards and could do the same for the GPU market, with the end of DDR on graphics cards.  If so will it spell the end of DDR5 development?  Interesting times to be living in, we should be hearing more from Samsung in the near future.

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You can read the full PR below.

If you thought the DDR4-3000 kit was excessive, meet Corsair's Vengeance LPX DDR4-4000

Subject: Memory | February 1, 2016 - 05:38 PM |
Tagged: ddr4-4000, corsair, Corsair Vengeance LPX

That is no typo, the 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX kit which Hardware Canucks just reviewed is indeed 4000MHz effective at timings of 19-23-23-45.  The small size of the dual channel kit helps keep the MSRP to $225, affordable for what it is and not removing the purchase of a second kit from the realms of possibility.  However the question of performance remains, does a DDR4-4000 kit provide noticeable performance improvements or is it simply good for bragging rights for those few with a motherboard that can support it?  The results vary, especially when looking at memory timings and CPU overclocks compatible with the memory frequency however it was also clear that this memory could probably go faster ... if you had components that were capable of reaching those frequencies.

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"The Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-4000 is one of the fastest, highest performance memory kits around but with a capacity of just 8GB, will it be enough for today's applications? "

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Memory

Corsair Launches Faster Vengeance LPX DDR4 Memory Kits

Subject: Memory | January 31, 2016 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: Vengeance LPX, ddr4, corsair

Earlier this month Corsair released new DDR4 memory kits under its Vengeance LPX brand. The kits come in 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities and come bundled with a 40mm "Vengeance Airflow" RAM cooler.

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 128GB.jpg

At the top end, the 128 GB kit comes with eight 16 GB modules clocked at 3,000 MHz and with CAS latencies of 16-18-18-36. At stock speeds it is running at 1.35 volts. Stepping down to the lower capacities gets you faster DIMMs. Corsair has the 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) kit clocked at 3,333 MHz and runs at the same voltage and CAS latencies. The 64 GB kit does come with either black or red heat spreaders as well. Lastly, the 4 x 8 GB (32 GB) Vengeance LPX kit runs off of the same 1.35 volts but is clocked at 3,600 MHz (16-19-19-39 rated latencies). It also comes in black and red SKUs.

The memory kits are available now and are currently priced a bit below their MSRPs at Newegg. The 32 GB kit is $340 and the 64 GB kit is $526. Finally, the 3,000 MHz 128 GB kit will set you back $982. These prices seem more competitive than the last time I looked at DDR4, and there certainly does seem tot be some room for overclocking (especially on that 128 GB kit) so long as the motherboard can handle it!

Source: Corsair

GDDR5X Memory Standard Gets Official with JEDEC

Subject: Graphics Cards, Memory | January 22, 2016 - 11:08 AM |
Tagged: Polaris, pascal, nvidia, jedec, gddr5x, GDDR5, amd

Though information about the technology has been making rounds over the last several weeks, GDDR5X technology finally gets official with an announcement from JEDEC this morning. The JEDEC Solid State Foundation is, as Wikipedia tells us, an "independent semiconductor engineering trade organization and standardization body" that is responsible for creating memory standards. Getting the official nod from the org means we are likely to see implementations of GDDR5X in the near future.

The press release is short and sweet. Take a look.

ARLINGTON, Va., USA – JANUARY 21, 2016 –JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in the development of standards for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of JESD232 Graphics Double Data Rate (GDDR5X) SGRAM.  Available for free download from the JEDEC website, the new memory standard is designed to satisfy the increasing need for more memory bandwidth in graphics, gaming, compute, and networking applications.

Derived from the widely adopted GDDR5 SGRAM JEDEC standard, GDDR5X specifies key elements related to the design and operability of memory chips for applications requiring very high memory bandwidth.  With the intent to address the needs of high-performance applications demanding ever higher data rates, GDDR5X  is targeting data rates of 10 to 14 Gb/s, a 2X increase over GDDR5.  In order to allow a smooth transition from GDDR5, GDDR5X utilizes the same, proven pseudo open drain (POD) signaling as GDDR5.

“GDDR5X represents a significant leap forward for high end GPU design,” said Mian Quddus, JEDEC Board of Directors Chairman.  “Its performance improvements over the prior standard will help enable the next generation of graphics and other high-performance applications.”

JEDEC claims that by using the same signaling type as GDDR5 but it is able to double the per-pin data rate to 10-14 Gb/s. In fact, based on leaked slides about GDDR5X from October, JEDEC actually calls GDDR5X an extension to GDDR5, not a new standard. How does GDDR5X reach these new speeds? By doubling the prefech from 32 bytes to 64 bytes. This will require a redesign of the memory controller for any processor that wants to integrate it. 

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Image source: VR-Zone.com

As for usable bandwidth, though information isn't quoted directly, it would likely see a much lower increase than we are seeing in the per-pin statements from the press release. Because the memory bus width would remain unchanged, and GDDR5X just grabs twice the chunk sizes in prefetch, we should expect an incremental change. No mention of power efficiency is mentioned either and that was one of the driving factors in the development of HBM.

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Performance efficiency graph from AMD's HBM presentation

I am excited about any improvement in memory technology that will increase GPU performance, but I can tell you that from my conversations with both AMD and NVIDIA, no one appears to be jumping at the chance to integrate GDDR5X into upcoming graphics cards. That doesn't mean it won't happen with some version of Polaris or Pascal, but it seems that there may be concerns other than bandwidth that keep it from taking hold. 

Source: JEDEC

Samsung Mass Produces HBM2 Memory

Subject: Graphics Cards, Memory | January 19, 2016 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, HBM2, hbm

Samsung has just announced that they have begun mass production of 4GB HBM2 memory modules. When used on GPUs, four packages can provide 16GB of Video RAM with very high performance. They do this with a very wide data bus, which trade off frequency for transferring huge chunks. Samsung's offering is rated at 256 GB/s per package, which is twice what the Fury X could do with HBM1.

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They also expect to mass produce 8GB HBM2 packages within this calendar year. I'm guessing that this means we'll see 32GB GPUs in the late-2016 or early-2017 time frame unless "within this year" means very, very soon (versus Q3/Q4). They will likely be for workstation or professional cards, but, in NVIDIA's case, those are usually based on architectures that are marketed to high-end gaming enthusiasts through some Titan offering. There's a lot of ways this could go, but a 32GB Titan seems like a bit much; I wouldn't expect that this affects the enthusiast gamer segment. It might mean that professionals looking to upgrade from the Kepler-based Tesla K-series might be waiting a little longer, maybe even GTC 2017. Alternatively, they might get new cards, just with a 16GB maximum until a refresh next year. There's not enough information to know one way or the other, but it's something to think about when more of it starts rolling in.

Samsung's HBM2 are compatible with ECC, although I believe that was also true for at least some HBM1 modules from SK Hynix.

Source: Samsung

G.Skill Launches 128GB DDR4 3,000 MHz Memory Kit

Subject: Memory | January 18, 2016 - 01:45 AM |
Tagged: xmp, X99, Ripjaws V, G.Skill, ddr4

G.Skill is adding a new DDR4 memory kit to its Ripjaws V series aimed at the Intel X99 platform. The new kit is comprised of eight matching 16 GB DIMMs for a total of 128 GB. Supporting Intel's XMP 2.0 standard, it comes stock clocked at 3,000 MHz with CAS latencies of 14-14-14-34.

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The DDR4 kit is rated at 1.35V and will feature red or black aluminum heat spreaders in line with the company's other products. G.Skill claims that this is the world's fastest 128 GB kit running at 1.35 volts, and looking around the Internet this appears to be true. Corsair does have a Vengeance LPX kit that matches it in clockspeeds, but it has higher timings (higher latency) than G.Skill's modules.

Eight 16GB DIMMs is a lot of memory to be sure, and it is not going to come cheap. It will surely come in handy though for high performance workstations that need all the memory they can get.

G.Skill will be releasing the new DDR4 kit towards the end of January. It has not yet revealed official pricing, but going off of pricing for it's 64GB kit and the 128GB competition, I would expect it to fall around $850 to $900 USD.

What would you do with 128GB of system memory? I know that I would make one heck of a RAM Disk out of it!

Source: G.Skill

DDR3 versus DDR4; the Skylake showdown

Subject: Memory | December 22, 2015 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: Z170, ddr4, ddr3

In Hardware Canucks recent review, they delve into the differences between running DDR3 versus DDR4 on Intel Z170 boards, which come in two versions each of which is compatible with one of the two types of memory.  They start out with a high level overview of the differences between the two memory technologies as there is more than just a simple difference in frequencies.  After covering some of the specifications which might influence your decision they then delve into the performance numbers.

One system is based on the Gigabyte Z170-HD3 with 8GB of Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3 while the second system uses an ASUS Maximus VIII Impact with Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, both systems use the Core i7 6700K processor.  The middle of the chart is the most interesting feature, where both memory kits are running at 2400MHz albeit at different timings.  DDR4 does come out on top but the margins are so close that if you need to shave some money off of your planned build you should definitely at least consider DDR3.

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"Intel's Skylake architecture is the only one that supports both DDR3 and DDR4 memory. But with all other things being equal, is one really "better" than the other on the Z170 platform?"

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

Samsung Announces Mass Production of 128GB DDR4 Sticks

Subject: Memory | November 26, 2015 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: TSV, Samsung, enterprise, ddr4

You may remember Allyn's article about TSV memory back from IDF 2014. Through this process, Samsung and others are able to stack dies of memory onto a single package, which can increase density and bandwidth. This is done by punching holes through the dies and connecting them down to the PCB. The first analogy that comes to mind is an elevator shaft, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.

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Anyway, Samsung has been applying it to enterprise-class DDR4 memory, which leads to impressive capacities. 64GB sticks, individual sticks, were introduced in 2014. This year, that capacity doubles to 128GB. The chips are fabricated at 20nm and each contain 8Gb (1GB) per layer. Each stick contains 36 packages of four chips.

At the end of their press release, Samsung also mentioned that they intend to expand their TSV technology into “HBM and consumer products.”

Source: Samsung

New kit on the block; the KLEVV Cras DD4-3200MHz 16GB kit

Subject: Memory | November 5, 2015 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: klevv, Hynix, ddr4-3200, cras

KLEVV is an unfamiliar brand but it falls under the purview of SK Hynix so they are not completely without a background in the field.  They have released a 4x4GB DDR4-3200 kit with timings of 16-18-18-36 @ 2T.  The plain exterior of the DIMMs is appealing but make note of the top strip of transparent looking material, that is for the LEDs which shine when the RAM is powered on and which Kitguru could not disable.  The kit did not like having its frequency increased however the timings can be improved, in Kitguru's case to 16-17-17-36 @ 1T though this had negligible inpact on performance.  If you are thinking about picking them up, be aware they are taller than many DIMMs and may interfere with larger coolers.

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"You may not have heard of KLEVV – the newest player on the consumer memory scene. KLEVV’s parent company, Essencore, falls under the same SK Group umbrella corporation as semiconductor giant SK Hynix. We are looking at KLEVV‘s flagship DDR4 memory line – the Cras series."

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Source: Kitguru

Super fast two wheeler or a solid quadrunner? A tale of two RAM kits

Subject: Memory | October 15, 2015 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: quad channel, patriot, G.Skill, dual channel, DDR4-3000, ddr4-2400, 16GB

MadShrimps recently wrapped up two reviews featuring 16GB DDR4 kits.  The first is the $170 G.SKILL DDR4-3000 kit with two 8GB modules and timings of 15-15-15-35 while the second is the $106 Patriot VIPER 4 Series DDR4-2400 which has four 4GB DIMMs and timings of 15-15-15-35.  This provides a great way to compare the performance delta between a quad channel kit with lower frequencies against a dual channel kit with higher frequencies.  As they have used the same tests and lowered the G.SKILL to comparable frequencies the results of the charts are quite informative and demonstrate how little performance difference there is between these two kits.

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"With the F4-3000C15D-16GVRB Ripjaws V kit from G.SKILL we will have the same memory capacity as the Patriot Viper 4 kit which we have recently reviewed, but with half the number of modules. The higher memory speed of 3000MHz at stock has also an impact on the operating voltage, which is now 1.35V instead of 1.2V and overclocking over this particular speed will usually need some extra voltage adjustments on the CPU side, a solid motherboard and UEFI construction but also a good CPU memory controller."

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Memory

Source: Mad Shrimps