When less is definitely more

Samsung today announced what it calls OneDRAM memory "fusion," a new type of high-speed DRAM designed to eliminate the need for both DRAM and SRAM components inside compact, high-speed multimedia devices. Samsung noted that devices such as smart phones and portable media players rely heavily on at least two types of memory for two types of processors: a communications and a media processor. With Samsung's OneDRAM, compact devices can eliminate the need for extra components, saving power as well as increasing speed at the same time -- both processors can use the same memory bank at the same time. According to Samsung:

Samsung’s new fusion solution, OneDRAM, is expected to be specified in the design of handsets, game consoles and in other digital applications, especially those that use 3-dimensional graphics. Due to rapidly increasing demand for multimedia features in mobile applications, designers have been specifying the use of two separate processors – a communication processor and a media processor. The new OneDRAM will channel data between the processors through a single chip eliminating the need to also specify DRAM and SRAM chips for buffer memory.

OneDRAM has the capability to be flexible as well as high-speed. Samsung indicated that when OneDRAM is used in devices such as handsets and game consoles, the total capacity can be divided and adjusted for use depending on application. The memory itself is based on double-data-rate (DDR) technology and currently operates at 133MHz. In fact, Samsung is claiming that memory performance will show to be up to five times faster than traditional designs. Samsung is producing silicon at 512Mb samples with larger cells to come later.

Handheld devices are decreasing in sizes on a daily basis, and manufacturers and designers show no sign of slowing down. This is one area where Samsung's OneDRAM will show benefits. A single OneDRAM chip can replace at least two mobile memory modules in a smart phone and because physical size is smaller, circuit space can be used for other features or just to reduce product size in general. Power consumption will be reduced by up to 30-percent said Samsung.

DailyTech recently reported that Samsung became first in the world to produce DRAM chips at 50nm. The company announced first samples back in mid-October, claiming that moving from 60nm to 50nm increased memory efficiency by nearly 55-percent. Mass production of 50nm DRAM samples will commence in 2008. Although no mention of what fabrication level Samsung's OneDRAM will be made at, we can expect Samsung to move to 50nm for OneDRAM if that isn't already the goal. Samsung is also developing 16-chip stack packaging, where multiple chips are stacked ontop of each other in the same package to effectively increase capacity.

With all the new memory technologies that Samsung is working on, we can expect to see a healthy dose of new product designs -- all faster, smaller and more capable than those available today. Samsung said that OneDRAM will start appearing in mobile phones first and since the company makes its own phones, we can expect to see product announcements soon.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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