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The Stack Archive

Intel’s prototype DRAM a promising breakthrough for datacentre performance and cooling

Thu 20 Nov 2014

Intel has revealed the fruits of new research in collaboration with Japan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), in the form of DRAM (DDR SDRAM) memory which offers four times the latency using 25 times less energy than current standards.

Telescoped to commercial manufacturing, the breakthrough holds huge significance both for the future of the data centre and for performance, battery-life and throughput on mobile devices.

Though Intel have given no technical details on how the new unit, which was announced at Taipei Innovation Day, achieves these figures, the known disparity in power consumption between chip performance at reduced nanometric throughput would suggest that the super-efficient new DRAM either utilises a very low nm connection or employs previously unguessed technology to make the savings.

Samsung produced a study called Leveraging Memory Technology to Cut Data Center Power Consumption [PDF] in 2010 examining the effect of more advanced DRAM on the overall power consumption and heat generation in a datacentre, and the report observes:

“…the deployment of leadingedge DRAM technology in today’s virtualized data center environments can yieldsignificant cost and CO2 savings. At the point ofInvestment, replacing conventional 50nm class DRAM memory with 30nm class memory represents a comparatively easy means to either save on operating expenses or increase computing power in a given data center power envelope.”


Power consumption by component between 30 and 50nm architectures:

dram-consumption[1]


The unnamed new Intel/ITRI DRAM is also apparently ready for system-on-chip (SOC) use, and promises a rare quantum leap in mobile computing if it enters the mainstream.

Wang Wen-hann, managing director of Intel Labs, commented on the new modules recently in Taipei: “As a technology innovator for nearly half a century, Intel believes that technology can have a transformative impact on people and communities […] This belief is what drives our collaborations with governments, the research community, academia, industry and others. The goal is to enable new thinking and skills to further economic empowerment,”

Intel has also been working with Asustek Computer Inc. since last year on new storage technology that promises to deliver 2.5 times the I/O performance of current state-of-the-art, and this research has been aimed at improving the efficiency of cloud storage.


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