Samsung goes 80nm with mobile DRAM

Written by Brett Thomas

December 28, 2006 | 14:23

Tags: #dram

Companies: #samsung

The world of mobile computing is vast and not without its intricacies. Do you need all the power of a laptop on the go, or is a PocketPC more your thing? Or would you just prefer a bit of media capability? Do you want it all in one, or are a few small items acceptable? Whatever your preferred flavour, it looks like it will all have a bit better battery life starting in mid-2007.

Samsung has officially announced the newest addition to its mobile DRAM modules, which are used across all sorts of mobile computing applications. They're particularly easy to find in handheld units like PocketPCs, where functional RAM is required in fairly high doses along with storage space.

The new 1Gb chips use 30% less power than their predecessors, thanks to a die-shrink to 80nm fab. Each unit is actually two 512Mb chips sandwiched and interfaced together, so it is double data rate (DDR) to boot. The speed increase along with power drop should mean one of the largest advancements in a while for mobile technology.

The chips show a lot of promise - it's possible to stack these in 3 and 4 deep packages, making a one-module 2Gb solution. There's also talk about pairing them with NAND flash memory, which is used in many consumer electronics, for one module with both permanent and RAM-based storage. These Multi-Chip Packages (MCPs) greatly reduce the cost of portable devices due to a smaller number of physical chips on a circuit board.

Overall, the move should be a win/win - lower battery drain, faster DRAM, and the cheaper costs due to smaller chip sizes. The possibility of hybrid RAM/Flash chips with the new technology will only further increase their versatility. Samsung expects the new chips to start finding their way into devices as early as Quarter 2 of 2007. Needless to say, we'll be watching.

Have you got a thought on the announcement, or is mobile computing just not much your thing to begin with? Tell us your dreams and gripes for computing in the palm of your hand in our forums.
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