The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will be the first smartphone with support for up to 16GB of RAM when it ships early next month. But we could see more phones with that much memory soon, because Samsung has announced that it’s begun mass production of the first 16GB LPDDR5 memory chip for smartphones and other mobile devices.
But it’ll probably be a premium option for the foreseeable future — prices for a Galaxy S20 Ultra start at $1400 for a 12GB RAM/128GB storage model and go up to $1600 if you want a 16GB/512GB version.
While it’s unclear if anyone really needs 16GB of memory in a smartphone today, Samsung says it’ll enable new features including “enhanced 5G and AI” applications for “graphic-rich gaming and smart photography.”
Of course, most Android apps will run just fine on phones with far less RAM… because almost no phones have 16GB just yet. So buying a 16GB phone today is kind of like paying a premium price in the hopes that you’ll be the first to take advantage of new capabilities or performance enhancements if and when they become available.
That said, there are a few key advantages to Samsung’s new 16GB RAM chip. It’s an LPDDR5 memory chip manufactured using Samsung’s 2nd-gen 10nm process. With top speeds of 5,500 Mbps, it’s about 30-percent faster than LPDDR4X-4266 memory, while consuming about 20-percent less energy.
But Samsung’s already looking ahead to its next memory chip. The company says in the second half of 2020 it will begin mass production of 16GB LPDDR5 6400 Mbps chips using a new 3rd-gen 10nm process to deliver even faster memory speeds.
Why does anyone need 16GB of RAM on a phone?
Robert Chase, no one needs it but it would be very nice to have for those who could afford it – great for multi tasking
Would be great for the highest end of devices, like a really powerful console, tablet, or maybe even an ARM laptop.
It feels like we’ve been “stuck” on 16GB baseline on the PC Ecosystem for like forever. Or at least a decade 😛
Whether or not the benefit to multitasking is tangible also depends on the phone manufacturer’s memory management decisions. Some are very aggressive about kicking apps out of memory.
Nobody does in 2020. Applications heavy enough to demand such RAM (e.g. heavy 4k+ video editing, 3D rendering, CAD, some math software…etc.) will be bottlenecked by the SoC anyway. There’s only so much you can do with a ~5-7W processor in the confined form factor of a phone.
Even relatively heavy games like PUBG mobile top out around 800MB RAM usage.
*Faster* RAM though, is welcome. LPDDR5 should be a decent improvement over LPDDR4 in that regard.
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