The DDR3 standard is more than enough for the majority of retail applications, but the server market can never get enough bandwidth. During ISSCC, Samsung and Hynix demonstrated their DDR4 modules, and plans mass production toward the end of the year.
DDR4 will be the next big step on the memory market, and as usual we will see highre speeds and lower energy consumption than previous generations of DRAM, including DDR3. Samsung and Hynix demonstreated prototypes during the ISSCC event
Samsung’s DDR4 memory operated at 2133 MHz with 1.2V operating voltage, made with 30nm grade technology. You can compare this to current DDR3 memory that operates at 1600 MHz with voltages at 1.35 to 1.5V. Currently DDR3 memories operate at 1.5V by default, and Samsung says that its new DDR4 memories will lower energy consumption with up to 40 percent.
Hynix also presented a prototype, but with even more impressive specifications. These ships are also made with 30nm grade technology, but stretches to 2400 MHz at 1.2V. We can imagine the energy savings are on the same level as Samsung.
These are just prototypes though, but mass production will start by the end of the year, then with 20nm grade technology. DDR4 is expected to appear in a low degree of servers in 2013, while it will take until 2014 before it appears in retail applications and become available to enthusiasts and home builders.
Both AMD and Intel have to add support for the standard in its processors, and we therefore assume that DDR3 will remain the defacto standard until 2015. After we tested AMD Llano with integrated graphics it became obvious that the memroy bandwidth was a big bottleneck. Since also Intel is planning more powerful graphics in its processors we should expect a big performance lift from DDR4 when it becomes readily available. In 2015 the DDR4 standard is expected to have scaled up to 4266 MHz.