U.S.-based memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) on Tuesday said it started shipping samples of its most advanced DRAM chip based on the LPDDR5X, low-power double data rate 5X, standard to smartphone makers to test out.
The latest DRAM chip was made using Micron’s most cutting-edge manufacturing technology, referred to as 1-beta. The company ships its LPDDR5X DRAM chip manufactured with its 1-alpha technology in volume currently, and said the new 1-beta chip has 15% better power efficiency over the older version as well as a 35% improvement on the number of bits stored per area.
DRAM chips are memory chips that lose the memory when the power is off, while NAND chips store memory regardless of power.
The 1-beta manufacturing technology further shrinks the 1-alpha technology, although Micron didn’t say by how much. Chip making has evolved to fit more and more transistors on a set area of silicon, which for decades has brought down the cost per memory and energy consumption – although some limits are starting to emerge.
Micron said it was able to get to the 1-beta manufacturing technology without using the expensive extreme ultraviolet, or EUV, lithography tools, which are used in the latest processor chips in top-end smartphones.
Thy Tran, vice president of DRAM Process Integration at Micron, said the new DRAM will be manufactured first in Micron’s plant in Hiroshima, Japan, and later at other high-volume manufacturing sites, including Taiwan.