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  • Sumit Negi

What is DDR4 SDRAM and How Does It Work?

DDR4 SDRAM or Double Data Rate 4 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory is a type of synchronous dynamic random-access memory with a high bandwidth interface. DDR4 SDRAM was released to the public market in Q2 2014. Following that, Intel introduced their new Haswell-E processor and Intel LGA 2011-3 platform with a built-in 4-channel memory controller that supports DDR4 modules. Because of the different signaling voltage and physical interface, DDR4 is incompatible with any previous form of random-access memory (RAM). A DDR4 module, or DIMM, is physically identical to a DDR3 DIMM. In DDR4, the printed circuit board is marginally taller, and the pin count is increased from 240 pins in DDR2 and DDR3 up to 288. The main notch (which ensures the DIMM is not mounted incorrectly) is also in a different spot. The connector's overall form has a subtle "V" contour to assist with mounting. DDR4 is designed to run at higher speeds and capacities while using less power, and it includes reliability features not found in DDR3.

DDR4 – Functional Description

For faster data transfer rates, DDR4 SDRAM has an 8n prefetch with a parallel bank. Internally, the memory is set up with 16 banks, four bank groups, and four banks for each bank group. A bank is an independent memory array. The requested bank address is located in memory using the row and column addresses. The page is a unique address that includes the bank group, bank, and row addresses. The total number of columns in a row is referred to as the page size. To increase the data rate without raising burst length, rank architecture is critical.

DDR4 - Market Insights

In 2016, the latest, faster DDR4 DRAM generation gained a major market share, accounting for 45 percent of total DRAM sales. DDR3 DRAM, which includes low-power models used in laptops, smartphones, and notebook PCs, accounted for 84 percent of total DRAM sales in 2014 and 76 percent in 2015, but DDR4 price premiums disappeared in 2016, and prices dropped to nearly the same ASP as DDR3 DRAMs. DDR4 controllers and interfaces are now used in a growing number of microprocessors, including Intel's newest 14nm x86 Core processors. DDR4 accounts for 80% of DRAM market revenues in 2020, while DDR3 sales account for 17% of market revenues. Revenues from DDR and DDR2 account for 2% and 1% of the market share, respectively.

DDR4 – Top 10 Players

The above graph shows a total count of patent families assigned to top 10 players in the market in the field related to DDR4 SDRAM. The top three companies holding more than 100 patent families are Intel, Alibaba Holding and Shanghai Lianshang Network Science & Technology. Apart from these, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Advanced Micro Devices, Micron Technology and Apple are almost at equivalence.

DDR4 – Top 10 Markets

The above chart shows the top 10 potential markets in the DDR4 SDRAM industry. China dominates with 1,182 patents followed by the US with 1,061 patents.

Sumit is a research analyst at Copperpod. He has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering. His interest areas are Microcontrollers, IoT, Semiconductors, Displays, Wireless Communications and Memory Devices.

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What is DDR4 SDRAM and How Does It Work
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