Most modern flagship smartphones have at least 4GB of RAM. Some have 8GB, and a handful have as much as 10GB.

Samsung figures that upward trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon, so the company has announced it’s begun mass production of the first 12GB LPDDR4X memory chips for smartphones.

My laptop, by comparison, has just 8GB of RAM.

Do you need 12GB of RAM in a smartphone? Probably not… or at least not yet. But Samsung figures it’ll come in handy as smartphone makers continue adding features that can take advantage of additional system resources.

For example, the company calls out “devices that feature more than five cameras” larger display sizes, AI features, or 5G capability.

Samsung acknowledges that a down side to increased memory capacity is an increase in power consumption, but Samsung says its low-power chips minimize the boost in power usage while offering data transfer speeds up to 4266 MHz.

Somewhat surprisingly, Samsung isn’t the first company to offer a smartphone with 12GB of RAM. That honor goes to Lenovo, which introduced a phone earlier this year sporting a Qualcomm Sapdragon 855 processor and support for up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT is already available in China and you can have a 12GB model shipped to you in the US for $890 if you don’t mind the limited support for US wireless networks.

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9 replies on “Samsung is building 12GB RAM chips for smartphones”

  1. Pfft…. everyone know you need at least 16GB of RAM to play any game properly!

  2. What’s the reason for non-power of 2 numbers with RAM (3, 6, 12 GB)? Addressing is a number of bits so up to a power of 2 is addressable. Is it a yield thing (ie. frequently, not all of the memory works so they’re disabled)?

    1. Probably you can sell a defective silicon if you disable the defective part. Kinda how the ZX Spectrum got 48kbytes of ram back in the day: two banks of 32 kbyte, but one bank was composed of corrupted memory IC’s, where the corrupted upper or lower half was disabled. Thus 48k.

      1. Very true, but are we really saying that modern memory ICs are going to be using this same method?

        1. AMD used this in some Phenom CPUs not so long ago. All CPUs were 4 core, but they also sold 2 and even 3 core ones. The trick was that if a CPU didn’t pass testing, they disabled the core that had a problem and tried again. If it didn’t pass again, then it went to the bargain bin as a cheap 2 core CPU, the others as 3 and 4 cores. But in reality they were the same exact chip.

    2. I have an old motherboard with 3 RAM slots so you can run a 32-bit CPU with 3x 1GB RAM modules. I know it has nothing to do with the modern memory in smartphones, but just an example of an non-even amount of memory being used.

  3. What does that do for power consumption in a phone? Real world. Samsung can say what they want.

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