Elpida Logo Elpida samples 4Gbit Wide IO Mobile RAM

2012 is so far looking like it'll be a great year for mobile devices with plenty of quad core ARM implementations arriving, higher resolution screens expected, faster flash storage memory at ever increasing capacities and now, super-fast, low power memory, at least if Elpida has anything to do with it. The company has announced that it has started to ship samples of its new Wide IO Mobile RAM as well as its Mobile DDR3 RAM in 4Gbit capacities.

2012 is so far looking like it'll be a great year for mobile devices with plenty of quad core ARM implementations arriving, higher resolution screens expected, faster flash storage memory at ever increasing capacities and now, super-fast, low power memory, at least if Elpida has anything to do with it. The company has announced that it has started to ship samples of its new Wide IO Mobile RAM as well as its Mobile DDR3 RAM in 4Gbit capacities.

Let's start with the Mobile DDR3 or LPDDR3 as it's also known as (not to be confused with Low Voltage DDR3) which is the next generation of "standard" DRAM to be used in mobile devices and it's a simple evolution from LPDDR2. We're looking at a doubling in the data rate from 800MHz to 1600MHz, or from 3.2GB/s to 6.4GB/s if you prefer. LPDDR3 still uses a fairly narrow 32-bit bus and it will be available in sizes of 512, 1024 and 2048MB down the line, although initial sample shipments will be 512MB. LPDDR3 can of course be configured in dual-channel which effectively doubles the bandwidth and this is something we'd expect to see in some high-end tablets where PCB space restrictions aren't as much of a concern as they are in smartphones.

So what about Wide IO Mobile RAM? Well, as the name suggests it has a much wider bus than regular DRAM, in fact its 512-bit wide, that's 16 times wider than that of LPDDR3 in single channel mode. However, the operating speed is a mere 200MHz, but thanks to the wide interface data transfer speeds still hit 12.8GB/s. Elpida claims that the vastly lower clock speed of Wide IO Mobile RAM allows for up to a 50 percent power saving compared to today's LPDDR2. Just as with its LPDDR3, we'll see capacities of 512, 1024 and 2048MB, but with initial shipments being limited to 512MB modules.

The interesting thing here will be once clock speeds increase, as even fairly minor increases in the speed of Wide IO Mobile RAM (they really need to come up with a catchier name though) should result in big performance improvements. Hopefully we'll see a widespread adoption of Wide IO Mobile RAM, but it's not clear how easy it is to add support for it for the SoC manufacturers, but it's clear that it would require a different memory interface than what is widely used today.

Source: Elpida