Hynix has produced the industry’s fastest computer memory—an 800MHz dynamic RAM (DRAM) chip built using the 60-nanometer process and offering 1-gigabit capacity. The current fastest memory runs at 667MHz.
The new chips will be built into 1GB and 2GB double data rate 2 (DDR2) modules available in volume in the first half of 2007. The format factor will be U—unbuffered—direct inline memory modules (DIMMs).
Hynix expects that product costs will decline by half when compared to the equivalent first generation of 80-nanometer memory technology. The chips are smaller than current chips, so they won’t need to be stacked together to build some memory modules. Instead they can be used side by side in a planar dual-row assembly method—which works out cheaper than stacking chips.
Hynix has used a 3-D transistor architecture and a triple-layer metal process that increase both speed and power efficiency. They also ensure that electrical signals in the chip are stable even though the components are packed together more densely than before. The small size means that very low-profile memory modules can be made, leading to slimmer devices.
Hynix says it will be able to produce 4GB and even higher-density modules in R (registered) DIMM and FB (fully buffered) DIMM formats. Intel has validated the new modules and has evaluation modules.
The new memory modules will be suited to high-performance graphic workstations and mobile devices that need high density and fast memory. Demand is expected to ramp up quickly as Microsoft ships its memory-hungry Vista upgrade of Windows. It needs more than 2GB of RAM for fast and smooth operation.
Hynix is rated as the third-largest manufacturer of DRAM in the world after Samsung and Qimonda. (Qimonda is the Infineon subsidiary making DRAM.)
-Chris Mellor, Techworld.com (London)
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