Samsung has begun mass producing what it calls the industry’s first 10-nanometer class, 8-gigbit (Gb) DDR4 chips as well as the modules they go on.
The South Korean technology giant cited a number of technical challenges it had to overcome in DRAM scaling, challenges it said were “mastered” using ArF (argon fluoride) immersion lithography, improvements in proprietary cell design technology, QPT (quadruple patterning technology) lithography and ultra-thin dielectric layer deposition.
As Samsung explains, DRAM is much more complex than NAND flash memory as each cell requires a capacitor linked with a transistor (the capacitor is typically placed on top of the transistor). With NAND flash, each cell consists of just one transistor.
That all sounds great, but what does it actually mean to consumers? More speed (and hopefully, lower prices).
Samsung says the new DRAM supports a data transfer rate of 3,200 megabits per second (Mbps) which is more than 30 percent faster than what 20nm-class variants are capable of. What’s more, the new DRAM improves wafer productivity by more than 30 percent compared to 20nm 8Gb DDR4 DRAM.
To illustrate just how quickly memory technology is advancing, Samsung only started mass producing 20nm DDR3 DRAM in 2014.
Young-Hyun Jun, President of Memory Business at Samsung Electronics, said they’ll be launching next-generation, 10nm-class mobile DRAM products with high densities in the near future. That translates to faster smartphones and tablets, something we can all get behind as overall innovation begins to slow in the mobile industry.
It's worth pointing out that Samsung's choice of works can get a bit confusing. To clarify, "10nm-class" denotes a process technology node somewhere between 10 and 19 nanometers while 20nm-class means a process technology note somewhere between 20 and 29 nanometers.