On Thursday, Samsung made the announcement that the company had begun high-volume production of DRAM chips on the 12nm process. This new node has yielded an appreciable decrease in DRAM power draw in addition to major cost reductions compared to the prior-generation node.

Samsung lets us know that its 12nm node is being utilized to produce 16 Gbit DDR5 memory chips. Using the newer and smaller process has brought about a decrease in die size and power consumption. Compared to DDR5 DRAM dies constructed with the older 14nm node, the 12nm counterparts lowers power consumption by up to 23%. Samsung is also able to build 20% more dies per wafer, as the DDR5 dies are physically smaller.

According to the manufacturer, the 12nm DRAM process uses a high-k material to increase the capacitance of DRAM cells without increasing their size. As a result, more data can be stored in the cell and less power is needed for refresh cycles – leading to better performance.

However, larger capacitors normally lead to bigger cells and dies, which can raise the cost. For a number of years, DRAM producers have been utilizing high-k materials as a strategy to address this issue, however, with each new node, finding those materials has become increasingly difficult, given that memory producers must also factor in yields and production facilities.

It appears that Samsung has been able to accomplish this with their 12nm node, even though they don’t elaborate further. Thanks to the new material, Samsung has managed to lower operating voltage, resulting in a greater balance between performance and power consumption.

Jooyoung Lee, Executive VP of DRAM Product & Technology at Samsung Electronics, announced that Samsung’s 12nm-class DDR5 DRAM, which utilizes differentiated process technology, offers exceptional performance and energy efficiency.

Samsung’s 12nm DRAM technology is the company’s 3rd-generation memory production node, which utilizes extreme ultraviolet lithography. The D1x node was initially only used to demonstrate the concept, while its successor D1a, integrated EUV for five layers and has been in operation since 2021. However, it is uncertain to what extent EUV is being used for Samsung’s 12nm node.

Enabling DDR5-7200 Memory Kits

Samsung aims to reach faster memory speeds with its new DDR5 dies. The company claims that it will be able to reach a maximum speed of DDR5-7200, or 7.2Gbps/pin. The voltage requirements are still undisclosed, but it is a glimpse of the potential for future XMP/EXPO DRAM kits.

In any event, 12nm-class DDR5 DRAM is now in mass production and should help to further improve memory storage performance while lowering overall cost.