LPDDR5 memory: a major evolutionary leap for the industry

Although it may not seem like it, mobile devices have suffered a fairly significant halt for some years in a key area such as their memories. LPDDR4 arrived and did not convince, LPDDR4X fixed the disaster and now LPDDR5 memory aims to turn the page based on a series of features that should boost the mobility market to the maximum along with another revolutionary technology such as 5G . What news does it bring to the sector?

Unlike what many believe, LPDDR5 will not initially have certain limitations in the implementation of products as diverse as smartphones and laptops, although it must be clarified that the former will safely take all the initial items that manufacturers can produce.

Therefore, LPDDR5 has been designed as a much more versatile type of memory than its predecessor, which will make us see it in practically all new generation devices with very limited power requirements from next year. And, as you will already suppose, the qualitative leap with respect to the previous generation implies improvements in both performance and consumption, since after all this type of memory is designed for mobile and portable devices that depend on a battery, and where consumption and autonomy are critical factors.

LPDDR5 memory: a major evolutionary leap for the industry

Although the processors have been gradually increasing their performance, the storage and memory section were lagging behind due to the lack of consensus to develop new standards.

Luckily, we will soon have UFS 3.1 and in the first terminals on the market we can enjoy LPDDR5 memory, as in the Samsung S20 5G range, but what news does it really bring and why has it been so well received?

LPDDR5 as such is nothing more than a memory standard for low-power devices that have to use this type of volatile memory. As a standard, it is intended to meet the performance and density needs of next-generation mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, ultra-thin laptops, and IoT devices.

Characteristics of this type of memory

Maximum speed 4266 Mbps 4266 Mbps 6400 Mbps
Allowable capacities From 4GB to 32GB From 8GB to 96GB At the moment only 12 GB and 48 GB
Channels 2 x 16 bits 1 x 16 bit 1 x 16 bit
Architecture x64 x86 and x64 x86
Maximum, medium and minimum voltage 1.8V – 1.1V – 1.1V 1.8V – 1.1V – 0.6V 1.8V – 1.05V – 0.9V – 0.5V
Sector Mobile and PC Mobile and automotive Mobile and automotive, perhaps ultra-thin laptops

First, it can be purchased in configurations of 4, 8 or 16 banks , with a speed in either case of 800 MHz, which results in 6400 Mbps. Although version 1.0 of the standard specified that they could be in sizes from from 2 GB to 32 GB, the reality is that there are manufacturers that are working on versions of up to 96 GB for specific environments.

Another section that is not usually discussed is the ability of this memory to switch between two different operating frequencies, all thanks to doubling the registration parameters so that they can be synchronized with those frequencies.

All this gives a total bandwidth of up to 51.2 GB / s with only 1.05 volts (VDD2H, only 0.5V in VDDQ) in full operation, which has been a decrease of 0.05V compared to its predecessor and a considerable performance increase from the 4266 Gbps where it ended.

This data represents a total saving of 20% in consumption and an increase in performance of 50%, therefore it is easy to understand the enthusiasm of the industry for implementing this new memory.

The first modules to reach the market will be offered in different versions, where the largest of them at least for 2020 will be 48 GB at 5500 Mbps in 496FGBA packages and with maximum temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees Celsius. With the introduction of EUV technology it is more than likely that in 2021 we will see the first modules to reach the maximum speed established by the JEDEC and with the same maximum and minimum voltages of the specification.


by Abdullah Sam
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