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Oct 21, 2014

SK Hynix Releases 16 GB DDR4/NAND Combo Module Made of 20nm Chips




DDR4 memory seems to be coming out every other week now. Not as often as we might have expected or hoped perhaps, but often enough considering that consumer products still can't use the tech for the most part. SK Hynix has just made its latest contribution.

In the attached picture you have what SK Hynix claims is “the world's highest density 16 GB (Gigabytes) of NVDIMM (Non Volatile DIMM) based on 4 Gb (Gigabit) DDR4 using its advanced 20 nm class technology.” When taken all together, it's not as big a deal as it sounds, since NVDIMM is just one type of memory module. Also, it kind of pales in comparison to the 32 GB DDR4 Module from Samsung, the RVDIMM that we brought to you earlier today (October 21, 2014). But that's neither here nor there.

The SK Hynix 16 GB NVDIMM

In essence, the module combined DRAM and NAND Flash in a single module, along with the module controller microprocessor. This means that data from the DRAM is easily sent to NAND chips once the processing is complete. And with NAND having double the density of the DRAM, it can be done easily and repeatedly. Having all chips on the same PCB also reduces power loss from the transfer and means that data can be safely stored and restored in case of sudden power loss. All the while, the performance is no lower than that of standard DDR4 memory modules: 1.2V current, 2,133 MHz clock speed, 64-bit I/O, and processing speed of up to 17 GB of data per second.

Not bad at all for what is essentially a fusion of two technologies that were not initially envisioned as interchangeable, but which seem to be fusing and crossing over into each other's turf anyway. And with the extra stability enabled by NAND, the new NVDIMM from SK Hynix might just become the prime option on the server memory market. All that's left is for modules of higher capacity, and maybe other form factors, to adopt the NVDIMM memory/storage combo, and for the capacity to reach above 16 GB. Servers are famous for allowing much more than that per slot after all, and it would be a shame for things to stop here, or even slow down.

Availability and pricing

As is customary for enterprise/server products, the price wasn't revealed in the press release. Shipments should start shortly though, assuming they haven't already. Depends on how soon you get a call in and how viciously you haggle.

Press Release:SK Hynix Inc. announced that it has developed the world's highest density 16 GB (Gigabytes) of NVDIMM (Non Volatile DIMM) based on 4 Gb (Gigabit) DDR4 using its advanced 20 nm class technology.
This NVDIMM is able to send DRAM data to NAND Flash whose density is two times bigger than the DRAM in a unanticipated power loss by combining DRAM, NAND Flash and the module controller in a single module. Therefore, it is feasible to save and restore data safely as well as performing on the same level with general DDR4 modules. This new product works at 2133 Mbps and with a 64-bit I/O it processes up to 17 GB of data per second running at 1.2V.
SK Hynix says it has already provided the samples to several customers and the attention to the product from corporations developing server and operating system has been increasing. SK Hynix is expected to create new market demand in heavily increasing big data processing with the new product. The Company plans to start volume mass production of this from the first half of next year to provide the specialized solution to clients who are in need of higher level in data stability.
"The development of the world's highest density 16 GB DDR4 NVDIMM has its significance in leading a new memory solution sector" said Senior Vice President Sung Joo Hong, the Head of DRAM Development. "The Company will further strengthen its competitiveness in server memory market by developing such hybrid modules" he added.
Furthermore, SK Hynix is looking forward to consolidating its leadership in high density DDR4 server market with this development. In April, the Company developed the world's highest density 128 GB DDR4 module based on the industry's highest density DDR4 sole unit of 8 Gb and its 64 GB DDR4 module was the only DDR4 module certified by the latest 'Intel Validation'. The DDR4 interface is expected to be commercialized regularly from 2015 and the main standard in the industry from 2016.
According to Gartner, server DRAM market will grow 37% (on a unit base) in annual average until 2018 following expansion of mobile environment. Plus, according to IHS Technology, the portion of server in DRAM module market (on a unit base) is to expand prominently, which is expected to reach 33% in this year, 41% in the next year and 62% in 2018.

SK Hynix DDR4 memory
Image credits to SK Hynix

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