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Inphi Tests New Memory Buffer

Wed, 01/20/2010 - 11:07am

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., January 20, 2010 – Inphi Corporation, a high-speed analog semiconductor company, announced that it is sampling the industry’s first JEDEC-compatible memory buffer designed to create a new class of standards-based memory modules – LRDIMMs, or load-reduced, dual-inline memory modules – capable of delivering upward of four times the memory capacity and nearly double the bandwidth, while reducing the overall power consumption. Inphi’s JEDEC-compatible memory buffer enables data center servers to take better advantage of multicore and virtualization technologies by isolating the CPU from the memory components and then buffering the memory, I/O, control and data signals.

“The combination of multi-core technology and virtualization improves server utilization and efficiency, but places tremendous demands on memory capacity,” noted Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. “This newly established standard defines a new memory scheme that will take full advantage of multi-core and virtualization technologies, while improving memory scaling and total cost of ownership.”

“Recognizing the importance of developing memory standards to ensure interoperability and market growth, Inphi has always been an active participant in the JEDEC standards body,” said Paul Washkewicz, vice president, Server and Storage Products. “We are pleased to be leading the way in supporting this new industry standard with the introduction of our JEDEC-compliant memory buffer -- our second generation isolation memory buffer.”

The new JEDEC memory buffer specification, and the resulting memory components, will drive the creation of a new class of standards-based memory modules – LRDIMMs. Unlike traditional registered DIMMs (RDIMMs) that limit the amount of memory that can be accommodated to their loading profile, LRDIMMs replace the register with an isolated memory buffer and significantly reduce the load. The new scheme enables more ranks of dynamic RAM (DRAM) to be populated on the memory module and seamlessly accessed by the CPU memory controller. The result is that each server’s memory capacity can be multiplied as much as fourfold, while server bandwidths can increase by up to 36 percent compared to RDIMM approaches.

Inphi’s JEDEC-compatible memory buffer enables standards-based LRDIMMS, which drives down costs to consumers, when compared to proprietary high-density solutions. In addition, the LRDIMMS based on Inphi’s JEDEC-compatible iMB™ component alleviates another major concern – power consumption – that plagues DDR3 systems when maximum memory capacity is needed. On most usage models, a quad-ranked LRDIMM consumes lower power, in both active and idle condition, compared to an equivalent quad-ranked RDIMM with the same capacity. This overall reduction in power consumption is brought about by improved optimization of termination power on the LRDIMM.

Because the new technology enables LRDIMMs to scale to much higher capacities and frequencies using cost-effective mainstream DRAM technology, servers can support more higher-speed CPUs without adding more memory modules, and with lower power consumption. Alternatively, data center servers using the new memory architecture can support the same amount of memory with many fewer servers, directly improving the total cost of ownership.

“This new approach has immediate application in the current generation of DDR3-based servers, while the scalability of the technology ensures a long life and continued application for future DDR3 and DDR4 memory-based servers,” said Paul Washkewicz, vice president, Server and Storage Products. “We are currently working closely with memory module providers, CPU suppliers and server and workstation manufacturers to assist them in the implementation of this new memory scheme.” 

Engineering samples of Inphi’s iMB™02-GS01 Isolation Memory Buffer are offered in a RoHS-compliant flip-chip BGA and are available now for qualified customers. Prices for initial engineering samples are $25.00. Fully qualified parts are expected to begin shipping in Q2 of 2010. 

Inphi Corporation, a high-speed analog semiconductor company, provides leading-edge interface components that operate at critical interfaces within cloud computing environments, addressing the bandwidth, capacity and power issues faced by data centers and 40G/100G networks. By leveraging its core competencies in advanced analog circuit design, signal integrity, power management, packaging and process technologies, Inphi has taken a leadership role in the markets it serves. Inphi’s more than 150 analog components push the boundaries of existing server, storage and broadband networking applications while paving the way for new ones. To learn more about Inphi, visit www.inphi.com. 

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