May 17, 2012, 9:15 PM — The specification for the next generation of mobile DRAM was published Thursday, offering a 50% performance boost for makers of the memory technology.
The JESD209-3 low-power double data density rate 3 (LPDDR-3) specification also increases the density of memory chips, meaning more data can be stored on mobile devices of the future.
The LPDDR memory standard, written by the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), is targeted at the latest generation of smartphones, tablets, ultra-thin notebooks and similar connected devices on the newest, high-speed 4G networks.
LPDDR3 offers 1600 Mbps data rate compared with the earlier LPDDR2's 1066 Mbps.
"LPDDR3 builds on the revolutionary LPDDR2 standard, which paved the way for an entire generation of high-performance, low-power mobile devices," said Mian Quddus, chairman of JEDEC's board of directors. "Now with LPDDR3, JEDEC has taken the standard to a new level, and we are pleased to offer a solution for the performance demands of a new generation of mobile products."
The specification also includes write leveling for more even wear of the flash memory.
Helping to further reduce power use is an optional feature called On Die Termination (ODT). ODT "enables a light termination to LPDDR3 data lanes to improve high-speed signaling with minimal impact on power consumption, system operation and pin count," the JEDEC statement said.
As with LPDDR2, LPDDR3 "supports both package on package (PoP) and discrete packaging types in order to meet the requirements of a wide array of mobile devices," the group said. PoP is a method of stacking discrete logic and memory ball grid arrays on top of each other for greater density.
LPDDR3 keeps the same power-usage -- 1.2 volts -- and signaling interface as LPDDR2.
The upcoming shift from the DDR3 to the DDR4 memory standard may also pose a challenge to LPDDR3 in the mobile market.
The DDR4 memory standard, which JEDEC expects to approve this summer, represents a doubling of performance over its predecessor and a reduction in power use by 20% to 40% based on a maximum 1.2 volts of power use, the same as LPDDR3 and LPDDR2.
DDR4's significant reduction in power needs means that relatively low-priced DDR memory will, for the first time, be a contender against PLDDR memory for use in mobile products such as ultrabooks and tablets, said Mike Howard, an analyst with market research firm IHS iSuppli..