In case you had any doubts that smartphones and tablets with 4GB of RAM were on the horizon, Samsung’s latest announcement should make it clear. The company has unveiled new technology that should enable support for mobile RAM chips with 4GB and faster data transfer speeds than anything on the market.

samsung lpddr4

Samsung says it’s developed the first 8Gb low-power double data rate 4 mobile RAM, or LPDDR4. It allows for greater data density, with up to 1GB of data on a single die. Pack 4 of those together and you’ve got a tiny 4GB memory chip that you can slap in a smartphone or tbalet.

The company says the chips offer data transfer rates of 3200 Mbps per pin and offers a 50-percent performance boost over existing LPDDR3 or DDR3 memory while using just 1.1 volts, or about 40 percent less energy than existing memory solutions.

Samsung already offers a few phones and tablets with 3GB of memory. It seems likely we could see the first 4GB models in 2014.

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14 replies on “Samsung’s new mobile RAM could lead to phones with 4GB of memory”

  1. This is good for Bay Trail T tablets too because it uses LPDDR RAM. Although, Intel’s page says the Z3770 uses LPDDR3. Does DDR4 require changes to the controller? I assume it does since the previous versions of DDR did.

    Are there any 4+ GB LPDDR3? I remember reading this year about them from some other company (Hynix?) or it was probably 4 Gb and not 4 GB.

    1. Ya, the Bay Trail T Atoms can handle up to 4 GB of RAM. Anyone know of any LPDDR3 chips that can be put together to make up 4 GB of RAM for these devices?

      1. The Reason Bay Trail Windows Tablets don’t come with more than 2GB of RAM has nothing to do with technical feasibility, but the fact they ship with Windows.

        The Problem here is twofold:

        1.) Space:

        Windows is far more bloated than any of the Mobile OSes, it’s even far bigger than any Desktop Linux Distribution with the same functionality out of the box. The typical 32GB Windows 8.1 Tablet has between 7-10 GB available Space out of the box, meaning Windows and the Recovery Partition already take up 22-25GB of Space right from the get go, and that is 32bit Windows mind you. 64bit Software typically take up around 50% more Space, on Disk aswell as in active Memory. And this with practically no benefit to the user if the machine doesn’t have more than 4GB of Ram and isn’t running Programs actually using more than 4GB of Ram.

        2.) Drivers:

        Bay Trail Windows Drivers for “Connected Standby” currently only exist for 32bit Windows. “Connected Standby” is the feature that allows for the ‘instant on’ at the press of a button experiance that Mobile OSes provide, without severly draining the batteries in the “off”/standby state.

        While 32bit Windows can technically Address 4GB of RAM, its memory management however is (mis-)designed in a way that it normally can only Address 2GB of RAM for User Mode Applications, and anything above that is exclusively used for the System, like for Caches, Buffers,Virtual Memory of the Hardware Components, Drivers and such. If you have specifically designed software that makes use of it, you can put windows in a “Large Address Aware” Mode, where it can be forced to give up to 3GB to User Mode Applications, and restricts itself to work in the remaining 1GB, but i don’t know of anything but Database Software that uses that, and you’re unlikely to run heavy duty, large, high availability database servers on your tablet.

        So while you could “technically” put 4GB RAM in a 32bit Windows Machine, more than 3GB don’t really help the performance noticably, and 32bit Consumer Software can’t directly benefit from more than 2GB of RAM.

        On top of all that, the Bay Trail Memory Interface is also a deciding factor. Only 2 of the Bay Trail Atoms are Dual-Channel capable, while all of the rest are Single-Channel, and none of them Support more than 2GB per Channel. So only Devices Equiped with the Z3770 / Z3740 (not Z3770D or Z3740D) could technically even Ship with more than 2GB of Ram. Since 4GB RAM will yield no practical performance advantage over 3GB RAM on 32bit Windows.

        3GB Dual Channel would necessitate EITHER overly complicated board layouts (using either “3x512MB & 3x512MB” or “1x1GB+512MB & 1x1GB+512MB”) OR negate the Dual-Channel Advantage largely by going for a “1x2GB & 1x1GB” Layout, where only 2 GB would run in a true Dual-Channel configuration with 1GB ‘tagging along’ solo in one of the Channels, so they just don’t bother and simply stick with using 2GB.

        Also…. Selling you an improved 4GB Model of their tablets when the “Connected Standby” Drivers for 64bit Windows are ready in the first half of 2014 makes them more money than giving you a 4GB Tablet now, that you could just get a copy of 64bit Windows for later on.

        1. I still see a benefit to 4 GB of RAM with a 32-bit OS. You’ll still see > 3 GB of RAM for the OS and software to use and have dual channel. We just sacrifice a bit on total accessible memory.

          Also, any single process can only access up to 2 GB of RAM but running multiple single or multi-process applications can easily require more than 2 GB. Not to mention Windows 8 on my Clover Trail device takes up just under 1 GB (not including cached memory) of RAM on a fresh boot and no live tiles. That’s not much left for applications. A browser with multiple tabs and opening some background applications like playing music, chat apps or other things will use that RAM up pretty fast.

          Companies have always been accused of planned obsolescence but I’m not sure if people will go buy 4+ GB devices after a few months. Especially when it was announced that 64-bit support would be coming out early 2014. I can speculate that 32-bit device sales would be more right now if there were 4 GB options. To some 4 GB is enough while 2 GB isn’t. These people will probably eventually buy the 64-bit devices later but I’m sure companies would like to sell there stuff right now to show on their quarterly reports.

          My 32-bit Windows 8 install takes up 9 GB + a 5 GB recovery partition. Of course, I have some software installed too. So people like me will definitely benefit from 4 GB of physical RAM even on a 32-bit OS. I do personally see paging going on with my Clover Trail device.

          For the 50% binary and memory size increase, is that from experience or do you have a link? I don’t see that with the Linux software I write. I see more like 30%. Is that a Windows thing? I don’t write Windows software.

          1. Some of the most popular Bay Trail Windows Machines like the Dell Venue 8 Pro use the Single-Core Z37x0D Processors, so they couldn’t even handle more than 2GB regardless.

            Other Devices seem to be limited to better differentiate them to higher performance offerings. The Dell Venue 11 Pro for instance uses the Dual-Channel Bay Trail on its 2 lower priced models and could theoretically support 4GB of RAM, if you want more than 2GB RAM however, you will need to go with the higher Tier Core i3 / Core i5 Models.

            While 64bit Windows can allocate up to 2GB for each and every 32bit Process it is running, 32bit Windows is restricted to 2GB (or 3GB in Large Address Aware Mode) SHARED AMONGST ALL User Mode Applications. That’s what i meant when i said that 32bit Windows had bad memory management.

            As for the 50% figure, it was a rough estimation based on personal experiance with some software i use in different bit editions, aswell as download sizes of things like Windows ISOs of different bit editions.

          2. The 2 GB limit is for a single process. You can have one process use 2 GB minus overhead and another process use another 2 GB minus overhead. I’d post links but my comment might be blocked.

  2. Good to see the hardware is keeping ahead of the software. By the time we can actually use 4 GB of RAM in our phones the hardware will be available. Makes those Bay Trail tablets with 2 GB of RAM seem even more pathetic.

    1. Agree about 2GB in Bay Trail tablets as being inadequate, 4GB should be standart and 8GB should come as cheap option.
      I wonder if this positive development in “android’s” world will help “microsoft’s” world add those extra 2GB of RAM and make 4GB standart.

      1. Present devices are all using the same LP-DDR3 RAM… So the Bay Trail T tablets are limited to what’s available, which is presently only 2-3GB… 2014 should bring out 4GB, regardless of LPDDR3 or LPDDR4 type. So we should see at least 4GB offered in models in a few more months.

        While LPDDR4 will apparently allow up to 8GB, which would be good for Cherry Trail… the 14nm Airmont based ATOM update that will come out before the end of the next year.

      2. It seems like that’s what is happening, and I say bully for us all!

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