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Industry proposes new mobile DRAM specs

Posted: 25 Feb 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile DRAM  LPDDR2 technology  through-silicon-via 

An industry proposition for higher speed mobile DRAM technology standards could throw off efforts by competing next-generation projects of MIPI, Rambus, Silicon Image and 3D chip groups.

Industry body JEDEC is exploring the idea of extending LPDDR2 technology to run at speeds of 800MHz—and perhaps 1,066MHz. Elpida, Hynix, Micron and Samsung separately have some or all of these LPDDR2 parts in the works.

Current mobile systems, including smartphones and other products, use mobile DDR interface technology running at speeds of up to 333MHz. Because the DDR interface is running out of bandwidth, a new and faster mobile interface technology called LPDDR2 is ramping up at speeds of 400MHz. A 533MHz version is in the works.

The JEDEC LPDDR2 standard offers several power-saving features and operates at a frequency range from 100- to 533MHz. Going beyond LPDDR2, vendors claim that a new technology is required to keep up with the memory bandwidth.

The candidates include MIPI, Rambus' XDR and an effort led by the Serial Port Memory Technology Consortium (SPMT). Other efforts have recently entered the picture, including a serial technology as well as a separate wide I/O DRAM technology, based on a 3D packaging technique called through-silicon-via (TSV).

The 800- or 1,066MHz devices could serve as a bridge to the next-generation technologies. Observers believe that the 800MHz—or 1,066MHz version—could also push out or stymie the other next-generation candidates, namely MIPI, Rambus' XDR, SPMT and an emerging serial technology. Some of these technologies may never get off the runway.

Amid the announcements in the next-generation arena, there are "discussions" within JEDEC to extend LPDDR2 to 800MHz, said Raj Talluri, VP of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT), during a panel session at the 2011 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

In other words, there is a push to make the 800MHz version a standard. There is also talk about extending LPDDR2 to 1,066MHz. The 800MHz version could become a standard, but it is less clear for the 1,066MHz speed, Talluri said.

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