On October 23, 2019, Samsung showcased a range of new technology solutions at its Tech Day 2019 event in San Jose, California. Included in this portfolio of innovations was a host of new memory solutions that will ensure the industry has the finest memory as we move into the next technological era.
Samsung’s third annual Tech Day brought Silicon Valley representatives, collaborators and experts together for an event that featured executive keynotes, a panel discussion and demo pavilion demonstrating what’s on the horizon in areas such as home automation, data centers, mobile/5G and automotive technology. The memory solutions proposed included Samsung’s third-generation 10nm-class DRAM, powerful 7th generation V-NAND and PCIe Gen5 solid-state drives (SSDs).
The New Standard for RAM
At Tech Day, Samsung announced that it had begun mass production of its third-generation 10nm-class (1z) DRAM solution. DRAM means ‘dynamic’ RAM, with ‘dynamic’ denoting the fact that the storage cell refreshes every few milliseconds and, as a result, is able to adapt quickly to whatever task needs to be performed at any given time
Samsung’s 1z DRAM solution provides industry-leading energy efficiency and capacity, making it a truly comprehensive package. In 2016, the standard for DRAM bandwidth was a maximum of 20 cores and four memory channels in the CPU, Samsung has now increased that number to a maximum of 64 cores and eight memory channels in 2019. Additionally, Samsung’s 1z DRAM lays the groundwork for the production of cutting-edge memory solutions like DDR5, LPDDR5, HBM2E and GDDR6 to begin as early as the beginning of 2020.
The DDR5 solution will allow for increased power efficiency by capacity and will be optimized for big data applications, while LPDDR5 will create new mobile experiences by reducing power consumption and bringing about changes in on-device AI and battery time. Samsung’s GDDR6 will allow for real-time, true-to-life graphics rendering, and the company’s HBM2E solution will allow powerful supercomputing to be done from a single box while significantly reducing AI training time.
The Next Big Thing in Flash Memory
V-NAND is a type of flash memory where cells are stacked vertically to provide greater capacity, faster speeds and decreased power usage. Samsung’s 7th generation V-NAND –also proposed at Tech Day 2019 – features nearly 200 (1yy) cell layers, and is suitable for both mobile use and other premium memory applications.
Samsung’s latest V-NAND solution is the V6, with the V7, V8, V9 and Vxx models forecasted for future development. Each subsequent model will feature larger overhead (spare block) capacity to help with remapping. Samsung’s vision for V-NAND includes modifying the host stack to accommodate sequential write for WAF (Write Amplification Factor) reduction, implementing ZNS (Zoned Namespace) and developing capacity-oriented, read-intensive applications.
The Future is Solid-State Drives
In addition to improving storage for datacenters and servers, the 7th generation V-NAND is also expected to lay the foundation for Samsung’s next generation SSD. The uptake of SAS (serial-attached SCSI) SSDs – which are designed to fit into the same slots as HDDs – is expected to increase almost fourfold by 2023.
Samsung SAS SSD solutions offer excellent reliability (error handling), availability (dual port) and serviceability (hot plug), but opportunities still exist for the product to be improved in the areas of performance and latency. Samsung’s NVMe (non-volatile memory) SSD solutions – which accelerate data transfer rates between enterprise and client systems – are very strong in the areas of performance, latency and availability.
SSD Diversity: Form Factors and QLC
At Tech Day, Samsung also shared technology solutions for a new range of SSD form factors. ‘Form factor’ means the size and physical configuration of the SSD, with an individual product’s form factor dictating which systems it will fit into. Samsung’s current form factors include M.2, 2.5”, HHHL and NF1, with the company planning to offer E1.S, E1.L and E3 form factors in the future.
Samsung’s SSD offerings are additionally bolstered by its QLC (quad-level cell) SSD. The QLC format allows for the storage of four bits per cell, which is theoretically 33% more storage per cell than triple-layer cell SSDs. Ideal for capacity-oriented, read-intensive applications, QLC solutions offer a reduced footprint and improved TCO, and are providing the ecosystem that will facilitate the transition to terabyte SSDs.
As the world enters a new phase of technological convenience and innovation, devices will need the best in-memory solutions available. With the DRAM, V-NAND and SSD solutions that Samsung has forecasted at Tech Day 2019, the industry can rest assured knowing that Samsung is laying a firm memory foundation for the exciting innovations of the future.