LPDDR4 vs LPDDR5

LPDDR4 vs LPDDR5 Standards and Specifications Comparison for Mobile

Just when you thought that the computer industry is getting saturated, it does not. Instead, it is growing by leaps and bounds. There are several areas like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and AR that need increased bandwidth. That is precisely what necessitated manufacturers the need to develop new standards for future DRAMs and evolve their memory technology. In the world of low-power DRAMs and NAND, Samsung, the market leader recently announced the launch of LPDDR5 technology. How does it differ from existing LPDDR4? Let us check out the differences (LPDDR4 vs LPDDR5) in more detail.

Also Read: LPDDR4 vs LPDDR4X – What’s the difference?

How does LPDDR4 vs LPDDR5 differ?

It could be too early to make those predictions as the new LPDDR5 standard is still under development and may only be available in the latter part of 2019. From that perspective, we will be involved in a practically speculative comparison based on the release details currently available.

What is LPDDR4?

LPDDR4 Efficiency

One of the existing memory standards, the LPDDR4 is, as can be seen, is a fourth generation LPDDR RAM technology. Considered to be the DDR4 alternative for the mobile devices. While the high-performance DDR4 modules are used for the high-end PCs, the LPDDR4 variants are used for the smartphones, IoT devices, and tablets.

The LPDDR4 standard ensures that they are higher performance and low power consumption DRAMs. In comparison to the previous generation of LPDDR memory modules, the LPDDR3, the LPDDR4 improves the data transfer rates by two times. They offer data rates as high as 3200 Mb per second. These modules utilize a two-channel design compared to the single channel design found in the earlier versions. Regarding power consumption, you will witness a minor improvement from 1.2 V to 1.1 V.

What is LPDDR5?

LPDDR5, as should be evident from what you have understood from the above introduction to LPDDR4, is the new generation of LPDDR memory modules. The standard has been designed to offer you the best option in terms of functionality for the low power data management for the next generation mobile devices.

It could be too early to make comparisons as the technology is still under development, but it is bound to bring a few improvements over the existing standards. It is aimed at providing an enhanced performance while reducing the power consumption.

There has been an improvement, apparently, in the data transfer rates. The LPDDR5 is likely to offer at least a data transfer capacity of 6400 Mbits per second.

A few improvements of LPDDR5 over LPDDR4

Samsung’s LPDDR Gen 1-5

LP-DDR3 LP-DDR4 LP-DDR4X LP-DDR5
Type 32 Gbit 64 Gbit Unknown
Max Bandwidth 2.13-Gbps 4.26-Gbps 6.4-Gbps
Memory Channels 1 2 1
Memory Bus Width x32 2x x16 (x32) x16
Banks Per Channel 8 8 16
Grouping No No Yes
Prefetch Size 8n 16n 16n
Operating Voltage 1.2v 1.1v Variable
(Max 1.1v)
Vddq (output stage drain power-voltage) 1.2v 1.1v 0.6v Unknown

LPDDR5 is designed to provide a few excellent functionalities and features over the existing LPDDR4 standard. It is created with a focus on an improvement in the data bandwidth. This is achieved with a focus on power consumption.

A few key elements that would make LPDDR5 a preferred option when it is launched can be summarised as here below –

Bandwidth

The primary requirement that necessitated the development of new standards in the memory modules was the bandwidth requirements that have increased over the years. Several applications such as AI and machine learning are emerging that have been looking for enhanced data transfer rates. The apps like high-speed gaming need a low latency and high-performance data transfer. The applications that work with data in high resolutions like 1080p or 4K (and slow-motion videos to some extent) have been instrumental in making it essential to go with the high bandwidth. Samsung’s announcement for their LPDDR5 memory modules points to a minimum of 6400 MBits per second bandwidth. This is almost double the value of what we found on LPDDR4.

Deep Sleep Mode

Deep Sleep Mode or DSM is introduced for ensuring a better power consumption. The LPDDR memory modules are used in smartphones and tablets and thus needs to have a lower power consumption. The DSM mode on LPDDR5 can reduce the IDD current by over 40 percent. The mode is activated either in a self-refresh state or in an idle state. Under ideal conditions, the DSM mode disables all the input and output buffers along with the power to all the internal circuitry. Please note that activating the DSM status will make you lose your data.

Link ECC

The ECC functionality is designed to recover the data when data losses occur inadvertently. The ECC function is provided for error correction during reading and write operations. This can control the errors that may have happened as a result of transmission errors and storage issues.

WCK Clock

The LPDDR5 introduces the WCK Clock functionality for enhanced performance. The GDRR5 and LPDDR5 work at the two differential clocks – CK_c and CK_t. The data transfer function utilizes the two clocks WCK_c and WCK_t. In essence, the WCK clocks can work at twice or four times the frequency of that used by the operational clocks.

When will the New LPDDR5 memory modules be launched?

Samsung is said to have developed the LPDDR5. They have already established the standard and tested it, but have not yet launched the module as yet. However, there have been no updates on when exactly will the memory modules be available in the market.

There were speculations that the new standard will find itself being used on the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note 9. But, it came with the same older LPDDR4 memory module. However, given the fact that Samsung has been one of the preferred suppliers of memory modules for a wide range of manufacturers, ranging across tablets, smartphones and slim laptops – we can expect the new LPDDR5 memory module being available on a few new launches across these device types. Perhaps, early 2019 may let the LPDDR5 see the day of the light.

In any case, we assume that the new LPDDR5 memory modules are designed to provide an excellent option in terms of enhanced functionality and features. However, since that modules have not yet been launched as yet – it may be too early to claim what they come packed with.

What are your opinions about the new LPDDR5 memory standards? Share your thoughts on the best features that technology is likely to bring about. You may also share any additional information you may have concerning these new models.

Disclosure: We are a professional review website that sometimes receive compensation or free units from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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