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Computex 2005: Elpida big up DDR2 at VIA Technology Forum 2005

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 1 June 2005, 00:00

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Elpida big up DDR2 at VIA Technology Forum 2005

Elpida big up DDR2 at VIA Technology Forum 2005

At the Grand Hyatt hotel, near the Taiwan World Trade Center in Taipei, where Computex 2005 is taking place, the VIA Technology Forum is taking place. VTF is an event for VIA and their partners to present new technologies, press conferences and keynote speeches discussing collaborations between VIA and their VTF partners. One of those partners is Elipida, the Japanese DRAM manufacturer, whose keynote speech just delivered in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt was very bullish on the increased adoption of DDR2 and FB-DIMM memory technology from 2005 onwards.

The first topic covered in the keynote was that of DDR2 speeds and memory densities that Elpida expect to see over the next couple of years. The company fully expects DDR2 speeds to have a base of 800MHz by 2007, offering a near 13GiB/sec base bandwidth on a dual-channel memory controller. Talking about the densities of DRAM devices in that same timeframe, Elpida are looking at producing 2GiBit (256MiB on one DRAM) devices by 2007.

Using those large DRAM densities and new process technology, they expect some mobile phones to offer 1GiB of memory for storage available by the user, up from around 256MiB maximum today.

They were then upbeat about DDR2 takeup on the desktop, reporting that 80% of systems shipped in Q1 this year were using DDR2. A large amount of those were notebook systems, where the power savings of DDR2 DRAMs are the driver for that adoption, moreso than performance.

In terms of future products, they told the audience that their E300-Fab2, producing 12-inch wafers, had some 90nm node production right now, with an 80nm optical shrink on the way. That 80nm optical shrink is where they'll start the 2GiBit DRAM production they mentioned previously.

Talking about power consumption, Elpida's benchmarks show that DDR, compared to a DDR2 device at the same external frequency, consumes twice the power. So while DDR2 may not offer the huge performance gains over DDR that people are looking for, power consumption per DRAM device is halved. With a ~450mAH draw for a single DDR DRAM device, and most systems having over a dozen such devices, there's good argument for DDR2 in terms of saving money.

They mentioned that their SO-DIMM products are experiencing 30% less power consumption since they switched production to 110nm at Fab1 and Fab2 in Hiroshima.

The final interesting parts of the keynote centered around stackable DIMMs. Using 90nm now, and 80nm in the future, allows Elipida to stack thin DRMA devices on top of each other to double density on the same DIMM. They've got 2GiB SO-DIMMs in testing just now, on 90nm, that used stacked DRAM technology, and they've got an in-production 4GiB DDR2-DIMM product using stacked DRAMs, too.

Lastly, Elpida mentioned that they were ready now for mass production of FB-DIMM products, but didn't go into detail on densities or performance.

Their aim, to be one of the world's top three DRAM manufacturers, using their own fabs in Japan along with their foundry partners in China and Taiwan, will centre on their prediction of massive DDR2 uptake for mobile, desktop, workstation and server markets. Hitachi and NEC, the companies that started Elpida back in 1999 and who still hold a majority shareholding, must be banking on that too.

More from VTF2005 over the next couple of days.

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