Talk around machine learning and big data usually involve processors, be it CPUs or GPUs, and storage technologies that it’s almost too easy to take RAM, a.k.a. memory, for granted. Of course, all these pieces work together to deliver the performance demanded by such applications but, compared to the other two, development in the RAM space seems almost to be at a standstill. SK Hynix, a name you don’t usually associate with consumer memory modules, is now breaking the ice with the industry’s first DDR5 DRAM which you might not be able to get your hands on until next year.
DDR5, short for Double Data Rate 5, has been in development for quite some time. In fact, SK Hynix announced a 16 Gb (Gigabit) DD5 DRAM, also a world’s first, back in late 2018. Better late than very late, the company is now announcing that the first module is now ready for production, at least once manufacturers start signing up for it.
The proclaimed advantages of DDR5 over its predecessor are pretty much the speed improvements you’d expect, like a 5,600 Megabits per second (Mb/s) data rate that can transfer nine Full HD movies about 5GB each per second. That’s claimed to be 1.8 times faster than DDR4 but the full capacity supported by the DDR5 standard is actually a lot more, around 6,400 Mb/s.
Beyond performance and power efficiency improvements, DDR5 also features Error Correcting Code right inside the chip that promises increased reliability of applications by correcting even single-bit level errors on its own. Perhaps more interesting is the claim that DRAM modules up to 256GB in capacity can be made, eclipsing the highest RAM modules available today.
This announcement, however, might not excite end-users that much, at least not until DDR5 RAM actually becomes available in the consumer market. The biggest beneficiaries will, of course, be industry customers but that will still depend on how fast manufacturers can build an ecosystem around it, from CPUs to motherboards that support this new DDR5 technology.