DDR5 FAQ

These are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding DDR5.   When will DDR5 be available to the public? DDR5 will most likely be commercially available in 2022. There are currently three companies that are currently sampling DDR5 DRAMS: SK Hynix, Samsung, and Micron.    Will we see DDR5 in a laptop? Yes. The new JEDEC spec shows that the DDR5 262 Pin SODIMM has a different mechanical notch that will be different from DDR3 and DDR4. So a DDR5 SODIMM is not capable of being installed in a DDR3 or DDR4 laptop.    Will DDR5 require a new motherboard? Yes. This is because DDR5 and DDR4 will not be compatible. New DDR5 Motherboards will most likely be out in 2022.    Will mobile phones be available with DDR5? No. DDR5 is for Servers, Desktop and laptops. LPDDR5 will be for mobile phones.    Will DDR5 be available for gaming? Perhaps. GDDR5 will be a better alternative.    How much will DDR5 cost? DDR5 will be more expensive than DDR4 initially. The cost will depend on supply and demand.   Will there be a DDR3 or DDR4 to DDR5 adapter? No. There are too many protocol, power, and ground differences on the pin out.  Like DDR3 and DDR4 the notches will be in different places (on DIMMs and SODIMMs) which means you physically cannot plug them in.   DDR3:                                                                           DDR4:            ...

The Threat That Just Keeps Getting Bigger: DRAM Row Hammer

  One of the more recent papers from Carnegie Mellon University and ETH Zurich tries to forewarn the tech industry about the prevalence of DRAM Row Hammer failures and lay out possible strategies to combat it. The testing they performed of the DRAM devices (DDR3, DDR4, and LPDDR4) helped to illustrate the magnitude of this error which appears to get worse for newer technologies. This means that Row Hammer is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Row Hammer is an electrostatic interference glitch that affects nearby cells and causes what is called “bit flips”. A bit flip in turn makes a “zero” into a “one” and vice versa.   This characterization study also explores the organization of the DRAM technology in order to thoroughly explain the Row Hammer error and give suggestions moving forward. The easiest suggestion included refreshing the memory more frequently which increases the charge of the victim row thus making it less susceptible to bit flips. But this suggestion takes a toll on power consumption and performance which is very important to data center operators. The other suggestion is to reconsider the design of DRAM at the component level which DRAM manufacturers are unwilling to do.   This in depth exploration helps readers understand the Row Hammer error a little better. It offers insight into the prevalence of the error in older technologies versus newer technologies. It also offers suggestions on how to mitigate the error. There are big risks with newer technologies having higher vulnerabilities to attacks such as Row Hammer. Hopefully as more research dives deep into this topic,...
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