DDR5 Memory Spec Doubles Data Rate, Quadruples Density

By Tiffany Trader

July 16, 2020

Standards group JEDEC announced the publication of the DDR5 SDRAM spec, the next-generation standard for random access memory (RAM). Compared to DDR4, the DDR5 spec delivers twice the performance and improved power efficiency, addressing ever-growing demand from datacenter and cloud environments, as well as artificial intelligence and HPC applications.

Providing up to 6.4 Gbps, DDR5 doubles the bandwidth of its predecessor, DDR4, which tops out at 3.2 Gpbs. At launch, DDR5 modules will reach 4.8 Gbps, providing a 50 percent improvement versus the previous generation. Density goes up four-fold with maximum density increasing from 16 Gigabits per die to 64 Gigabits per die in the new spec. JEDEC representatives indicated there will be both 8 Gigabit and 16 Gigabit DDR5 products at launch.

DDR5 boosts signaling rates to 6,400 MT/s, but Desi Rhoden, chairman, JEDEC JC-42 memory committee, and executive vice president of Montage Technology, says there are discussions about going beyond that. “I think you can expect that you might see something above that as well — and much improved channel utilization,” he said in a press briefing held earlier this week.

DDR DRAM Generational Evolution (Source: JEDEC)

A new feature, Decision Feedback Equalization, was added to improve IO speed scalability. “It enables us to build really high frequency interfaces,” said Rhoden. “We didn’t need this before because we were at performances that did not demand it, but now we have to use equalization to get to the high speed IO. And this is the first time we’ve ever had it in the DRAM itself. We’ve had it in support logic before but the first time in the DRAM itself.”

A fine grain refresh feature, all bank refresh, improves 16 Gigabit device latency. Same bank refresh offers the ability to refresh in one part of the die while other parts are in use, providing higher utilization.

Additional features/specs include:

• On-die ECC and other scaling features enable manufacturing on advanced process nodes.
• Improved power efficiency enabled by Vdd going from 1.2V to 1.1V as compared to DDR4.
• Use of the MIPI Alliance I3C Basic specification for system management bus.
• At the module level, voltage regulator on DIMM design enables pay as you go scalability, better voltage tolerance for improved DRAM yields and the potential to further reduce power consumption.
• The DIMM has two 40-bit (32 data bits plus eight ECC bits) independent sub-channels on the same module for efficiency and improved reliability.

The DDR5 spec also increases stacking capability, doubling the height from the previous generation. “The DDR4 spec defines up to an 8-high stack, and for most of the industry the maximum stack height was 4-high. For DDR5, we have defined up to a 16-high stack, and expect up to 8-high stack products,” said Johnny Kim, chairman, JEDEC JC-42.3C subcommittee and staff engineer, memory product planning and enabling at Samsung.

With a DDR5 DIMM supporting 40 placements of DRAM, an 8-high stack at 64 gigabits per die brings the upper capacity to 2 terabytes.

Devices are sampling now and CPUs are available to work with them, JEDEC said. Historically, it’s taken about 18 months to transition from one generation to the next and the JEDEC representatives expect that trend to hold with the server market leading. “The server datacenter market led for the transition to DDR4 back in 2014, and the datacenter market has grown substantially since that time. So we think that that’ll [even more so] be the snowplow for DDR5 adoption,” said Paul Fahey, JEDEC board of directors and vice president DRAM technology at SK hynix.

The previous two DDR generations have come at about a seven-year cadence, and this longevity, along with the demands of the data age, set a high bar for the DDR5 spec and roadmap. “These generations always live longer than initially anticipate them to live,” said Rhoden. “DDR5, because it does have so much capability built into it, has the potential to live quite a long life.”

“We added a lot into the spec to give it that longevity,” noted Frank Ross, JEDEC board of directors and senior member of technical staff, lead architect, Micron. “Whether we use all of those features and all of the capacities and so forth is yet to be seen. But we’ve seen each subsequent DRAM generation last longer than previous one as new applications come around. We’ve improved DRAM reliability quite a bit over the years. You have applications that will continue to use DDR3 and DDR4 for a long time, and I imagine DDR5 will be the same.”

Going forward though, the expectation is that all new designs will be focused on the newest standard. “To take advantage of the kinds of things that DDR5 offers, I think people will be wanting to design in it and as quickly as possible,” said Ross.

“We’ve got probably the best standard we’ve ever produced,” Ross added. “I think the industry is going to be very impressed. And everyone has to remember, DDR5 is a system level solution. So we’re producing a component spec at the same time we’re producing a module spec, as well as support components. So there’s just a tremendous amount of work that goes into the spec and in the end, we have an extremely high quality document.”

Over 150 companies were involved in the creation of this spec. Micron, Samsung, SK hynix, Synopsys, Intel and AMD are among the companies expressing their support and engagement.

Micron Technology, which announced DDR5 RDIMM samples in January (2020), is now launching an enablement program to provide early access to technical resources, products and ecosystem partners. The program will aid in the design, development and qualification of next-generation computing platforms that use DDR5, said Mircon.

SK Hynix has been working on DDR5 samples since 2018, and expects to start mass manufacturing by the end of this year.

Synopsys introduced the industry’s first JEDEC DDR5 compliant Verification IP (VIP) for DDR5 DRAM/DIMM to enable the design and verification of next-generation memory devices.

The DDR5 SDRAM (JESD79-5) spec document is available for download from the JEDEC website.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chip maker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the Europe Read more…

By George Leopold

OpenHPC Progress Report – v2.0, More Recipes, Cloud and Arm Support, Says Schulz

October 26, 2020

Launched in late 2015 and transitioned to a Linux Foundation Project in 2016, OpenHPC has marched quietly but steadily forward. Its goal “to provide a reference collection of open-source HPC software components and bes Read more…

By John Russell

NASA Uses Supercomputing to Measure Carbon in the World’s Trees

October 22, 2020

Trees constitute one of the world’s most important carbon sinks, pulling enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing the carbon in their trunks and the surrounding soil. Measuring this carbon sto Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia Dominates (Again) Latest MLPerf Inference Results

October 22, 2020

The two-year-old AI benchmarking group MLPerf.org released its second set of inferencing results yesterday and again, as in the most recent MLPerf training results (July 2020), it was almost entirely The Nvidia Show, a p Read more…

By John Russell

With Optane Gaining, Intel Exits NAND Flash

October 21, 2020

In a sign that its 3D XPoint memory technology is gaining traction, Intel Corp. is departing the NAND flash memory and storage market with the sale of its manufacturing base in China to SK Hynix of South Korea. The $9 Read more…

By George Leopold

AWS Solution Channel

Live Webinar: AWS & Intel Research Webinar Series – Fast scaling research workloads on the cloud

Date: 27 Oct – 5 Nov

Join us for the AWS and Intel Research Webinar series.

You will learn how we help researchers process complex workloads, quickly analyze massive data pipelines, store petabytes of data, and advance research using transformative technologies. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Berlin Institute of Health: Putting HPC to Work for the World

Researchers from the Center for Digital Health at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are using science to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, which can help to inform the development of targeted treatments. Read more…

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing another major EuroHPC design win. Finnish supercomputing cent Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

OpenHPC Progress Report – v2.0, More Recipes, Cloud and Arm Support, Says Schulz

October 26, 2020

Launched in late 2015 and transitioned to a Linux Foundation Project in 2016, OpenHPC has marched quietly but steadily forward. Its goal “to provide a referen Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Dominates (Again) Latest MLPerf Inference Results

October 22, 2020

The two-year-old AI benchmarking group MLPerf.org released its second set of inferencing results yesterday and again, as in the most recent MLPerf training resu Read more…

By John Russell

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE to Build Australia’s Most Powerful Supercomputer for Pawsey

October 20, 2020

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth, Western Australia, has had a busy year. Pawsey typically spends much of its time looking to the stars, working with a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DDN-Tintri Showcases Technology Integration with Two New Products

October 20, 2020

DDN, a long-time leader in HPC storage, announced two new products today and provided more detail around its strategy for integrating DDN HPC technologies with Read more…

By John Russell

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ROI: Is HPC Worth It? What Can We Actually Measure?

October 15, 2020

HPC enables innovation and discovery. We all seem to agree on that. Is there a good way to quantify how much that’s worth? Thanks to a sponsored white pape Read more…

By Addison Snell, Intersect360 Research

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Powers Fugaku’s Storage, Scores IO500 Win

August 28, 2020

In June, RIKEN shook the supercomputing world with its Arm-based, Fujitsu-built juggernaut: Fugaku. The system, which weighs in at 415.5 Linpack petaflops, topp Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DOD Orders Two AI-Focused Supercomputers from Liqid

August 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is making a big investment in data analytics and AI computing with the procurement of two HPC systems that will provide the High Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Oracle Cloud Deepens HPC Embrace with Launch of A100 Instances, Plans for Arm, More 

September 22, 2020

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) continued its steady ramp-up of HPC capabilities today with a flurry of announcements. Topping the list is general availabilit Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This