Samsung introduces industry's first CXL module featuring DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 connectivity

jsilva

Posts: 88   +0
Staff
In brief: Samsung has recently announced a DDR5 memory expander that uses CXL, a new open standard for CPU-to-device and CPU-to-memory interconnection that benefits from the capabilities of PCIe 5.0 interfaces. This new standard is not widely used yet, but as DDR5 memory makes its way into the market, we expect to see its popularity grow. One day, we may see it being used in client systems.

In 2019, the CLX (Compute Express Link) consortium created a new standard to tackle the performance and latency demands of data centers. Now consisting of over 130 members, the consortium consists of a wide range of companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Alibaba, Cisco, Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and many more.

Based on PCIe 5.0 technology, the CXL standard is built upon three key protocols: CXL.io (I/O), CXL.cache (caching), and CXL.memory (memory). Together, these protocols provide the means for a CPU and a CXL device to maintain and share a unified memory space, allowing them to share resources and operate in the same memory segment.

In the announcement of the new memory expander, Samsung told how CXL brings "terabyte level" scalability to memory while also offering a high-speed and low latency connection between processors and accelerators, memory buffers, and smart I/O devices.

"This is the industry's first DRAM-based memory solution that runs on the CXL interface, which will play a critical role in serving data-intensive applications including AI and machine learning in data centers as well as cloud environments," said Cheolmin Park, VP of the memory product planning team at Samsung Electronics.

Samsung's CXL memory expander also features some of the company's proprietary controller and software technologies, including memory mapping, interface converting, and error management. The addition of such technologies is what makes it possible for CPUs or GPUs to acknowledge the memory expander and use it as the main memory.

Intel has already validated the Samsung CXL memory expander for the company's next-generation server platforms. Other data center and cloud providers should follow soon.

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BadThad

Posts: 511   +495
Interesting but that's about all. Hard to image them selling very many of these as most people will simply install more RAM.
 
BadThad, this is really not meant for consumer level use but for Enterprise application. The price point isn't gonna be cheap either. They'll still sell a butt-ton of them given it's intended application.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 337   +308
Well it has begun, next hopefully AMD and NVidia are planning to use it for the return of multi gpu configs. It literally solves every issue that plagued SLI and Crossfire.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 337   +308
BadThad, this is really not meant for consumer level use but for Enterprise application. The price point isn't gonna be cheap either. They'll still sell a butt-ton of them given it's intended application.
For now yes, but as in everything enterprise trickles down to consumer levels eventually. Some of the applications for this would be amazing like creating a ramdisk without biting into your ram slot alotment for content creation. Grant it I imagine it also acts like a northridge virtually so there is latency involved.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 337   +308
Interesting but that's about all. Hard to image them selling very many of these as most people will simply install more RAM.
Lol, this would be more for people like content creators where you are already capped on something like x570 at 3600mhz for 64gb with 12gb dimms, so this basically allows you to create let's say a ramdisk on the cxl drive without biting into your alot allotment this allowing much faster work loads, it would be for people that aren't going to jump on threadripper, it's more for workstation use cases, but, servers can use this to load a ramdisk at half of your server pcie lanes so where you need ultra fast storage you are trading volatile for non volatile storage, this would make sense for game servers to cut down on server latency locally for more advanced features, think path of Exile where a few hundred thousand people are hammering servers with maps.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 351   +270
This could eliminate need for RAM slots per se. Users wouldn't really care if memory runs single, dual or more channels. Just plug say single 512G module into CXL slot and every memory controller in CPU has access to whole pool of memory. No bottlenecks of any kind. 1 slot instead 4,6,8. Think about reduced circuitry. 8 channel RAM is basically at the edge of what is feasible. Cannot really imagine CPUs with 12 or 16 channel RAM. Amazing potential in CXL.

Like every new tech it's just for the big boys now. But in 10 years time RAM as we know it today may be a distant memory (pun very much intended ;) ).

Remember first NAND SSD came to enterprise in 1991 at a whopping 20MB capacity. At price point even Bezos would wince. Today look at the market. Same with this.