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Samsung to Produce Faster Graphics Memory

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the faster-and-cheaper dept.

138

Samsung has announced a new line of GDDR5 chips that will supposedly be able to deliver data at speeds of up to 6 Gbps. In addition to faster data delivery the new chips also claim to consume less energy than previous versions. "Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips. Samples of the GDDR 5 chips began shipping to graphics-processor makers last month, and Samsung plans to begin mass production of the chips during the first half of next year. GDDR 5 memory should first appear in high-end gaming systems where users are willing to pay a premium for better graphics. Samsung did not disclose pricing for the chips.

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138 comments

Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562917)

Memo From Ki-Tae Lee
To: All Samsung Employees
CEO and President,
Samsung
December 3rd, 2007

Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of graphics memory in this country. Samsung's GDDR3 was on the card to own. Then the other guy came out with a GDDR3 graphics chip. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called XDR. That's GDDR3 on crack. For cokehead gamers. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened--the bastards went to GDDR4. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling XDR & GDDR3. Cokehead gamers or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to GDDR5.

Sure, we could go to GDDR4 next, like the competition. That seems like the logical thing to do. After all, three worked out pretty well, and four is the next number after three. So let's play it safe. Let's make a more crackhead gamer RAM and call it the XDR3SuperTurbo. Why innovate when we can follow? Oh, I know why: Because we're a business, that's why!

You think it's crazy? It is crazy. But I don't give a shit. From now on, we're the ones who have the speed in the memory game. Are they the best a man can get? Fuck, no. Samsung is the best a man can get.

What part of this don't you understand? If GDDR2 is good, and three is better, obviously five would make us the best fucking memory that ever existed. Comprende? We didn't claw our way to the top of the memory game by clinging to the GDDR2 industry standard. We got here by taking chances. Well, GDDR5 is the biggest chance of all.

Here's the report from Engineering. Someone put it in the bathroom: I want to wipe my ass with it. They don't tell me what to invent--I tell them. And I'm telling them to stick enough transistors on there to call it GDDR5. I don't care how. Make the chips so thin they're invisible. Put some on the handle. I don't care if they have to make the ram hang halfway off the motherboard, just do it!

You're taking the "safety" part of "safety electronics" too literally, grandma. Cut the strings and soar. Let's hit it. Let's roll. This is our chance to make memory history. Let's dream big. All you have to do is say that GDDR5 can happen, and it will happen. If you aren't on board, then fuck you. And if you're on the board, then fuck you and your father. Hey, if I'm the only one who'll take risks, I'm sure as hell happy to hog all the glory when the GDDR5 card becomes the gaming video card for the U.S. of "this is how we game now" A.

People said we couldn't go to three. It'll cost a fortune to manufacture, they said. Well, we did it. Now some egghead in a lab is screaming "Five's crazy?" Well, perhaps he'd be more comfortable in the labs at Sony, working on fucking electrics. Cell processing chips, my white ass!

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we should just ride in SanDisk's wake and make flash USB drives. Ha! Not on your fucking life! The day I shadow a penny-ante outfit like SanDisk is the day I leave the silicon game for good, and that won't happen until the day I die!

The market? Listen, we make the market. All we have to do is put her out there with a little jingle. It's as easy as, "Hey, shaving with anything less than GDDR5 is like playing Warcraft on a Commodore 64." Or "It'll be so smooth, I could snort lines off of your monitor." Try "Your frame rate is going to be so friggin' fluid, someone's gonna walk up and confuse it with a urinal."

I know what you're thinking now: What'll people say? Mew mew mew. Oh, no, what will people say?! Grow the fuck up. When you're on top, people talk. That's the price you pay for being on top. Which Samsung is, always has been, and forever shall be, Amen, GDDR5, sweet Jesus in heaven.

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another microcontroller on that fucker, too. That's right. GDDR5, two microcontrollers, and make the second one a porn downloader. You heard me--the second controller downloads porn while you play your games. It's a whole new way to think about gaming. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge--the bleeding edge--and I feel like gaming.

Adapted from America's Finest News Source [theonion.com] .

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563317)

My God, that was awesome.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (3, Informative)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564487)

It's an old Onion article rewrite... I'd completely forgotten about it, so it was good to see again... :)
Article [theonion.com] . He missed a few words, but it was good.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564925)

Agh. I hadn't seen that there was an article link right below the 'Read Full Comment Text' link. Previous post redundant... :-S

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563599)

Gee... I wonder how many BLACKS are working on this?
You know, what with them being 'equal' to us, and all, and James Watson having been 'proved' a 'racist' for pointing out the frickin' obvious...

The more blacks you have in your country, the more shit it will be...

Anybody care to prove me wrong?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563679)

The more blacks you have in your country, the more shit it will be...
There are more blacks in the US than in Estonia. QED.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

shvytejimas (1083291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564151)

Are you implying it's bad to live in Estonia because they lack blacks?
You do have a newsletter i could subscribe to, right?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563645)

I'm pretty sure that just gave me a hard on.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563667)

Now why can't all First Post AC's be this creative?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21564709)

That copy-pasta is older then your mom.

Note to self (1)

Astadar (591470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563945)

... never use Google's Korean->English translation for company memos/press releases/important documents...

Seems like execs keep getting burned this way.

Re:Note to self (1)

iNetRunner (613289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564565)

If there was an English to Onion translator, oh boy would that make the everyday news sweet. Though the absolute truth might get obscured a bit, but who needs details anyway.. =)

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564707)

"Hey, shaving with anything less than GDDR5 is like playing Warcraft on a Commodore 64."

Does it imply that playing games with less than 5 blades is like scraping your beard off with a dull hatchet?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing GDDR5 (1)

lostguru (987112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565761)

i almost skipped this thinking that the only ones who posted comments that length were the gay story trolls

in scrolling i noticed that you actually mentioned something the article did so i read it, that was amazing, thank you

Qimonda (4, Informative)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562937)

Qimonda already released GDDR5 Article from November 2: http://www.pclaunches.com/other_stuff/qimonda_gddr5_memory_now_available.php [pclaunches.com]

Re:Qimonda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563565)

Man, Computers are so fast now days..
the memory processes so quickly that it surpassed the term GDDR 4!

END MODERATOR ABUSE (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564171)

I have again been the victim of moderator abuse http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=366293&cid=21424075 [slashdot.org] . MOD me up to correct this injustice.

Too many moderators use Insightful as "I agree". Too many moderators fall for unoriginal groupthink and mod it up. People complain about trolls, but the REAL line noise on slashdot comes from the posts modded +4 or +5 that contribute NOTHING to an intelligent discussion. You can't filter that out, and even if you have your thresholds set high, you still see all the stupid stuff that you've already seen. That's why digg sucks and will never be anything but a place for 1338 high-skool haxx0rs. And it's happening here. So I used this account to call shenanigans on sucky posts. I getted modded into oblivion for pointing out truth. I guess that's how it goes. Most of you are a bunch of mindless sheeple.

One way to fix this: I think Slashdot should give IQ tests to all would-be moderators. That would ensure most of the ramshackle pseudo-intellectuals who get mod points would be replaced by people who can actually read the moderator guidelines and adhere to them.

Consumes 1.5 Volts? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562957)

How does it consume volts?

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563351)

By opening the packaging and chewing?

Damn... I logged on just to respond to this. "Consuming Volts", "travelling at 5 knots per hour", "uses 4 kW per hour" and similar flagrant misuse of units really winds my shorts (to a torque of 5 Nm). You can forgive USA Today, but a Geek rag should get this right.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563377)

that's just the way they talk

here's the original text:

Samsung has announced a new rine of GDDR5 chips that will supposedry be able to deriver data at speeds of up to 6 Gbps. In addition to faster data derivery the new chips also craim to consume ress energy than previous versions. "Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips. Samples of the GDDR 5 chips began shipping to graphics-process or makers rast month, and Samsung prans to begin mass production of the chips during the first half of next year. GDDR 5 memory should first appear in high-end gaming systems where users are willing to pay a premium for better graphics. Samsung did not discrose pricing for the chips.

See, more proof of intelligent design. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563595)

Samsung has taken a page from God's book, and intelligently designed these chips with a special digestive system just for consuming volts. Its multi-chambered, kinda like ruminents, but they don't have to barf the volts back up and eat them again. Samsung: 1, God: 0.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563671)

Maybe it has extremely high resistance so it "consumes" volts lol. The real question is WTF happened to GDDR4? I bet some other company is in the process of making 4 so they named theirs 5 just to be dicks lol. Well I'm gonna go make some Super Ultra GDDR3000 with hypthreadingtransport bus speedination! It's actually not ram at all, it's a cologne lol.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

rvw14 (733613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565623)

I agree. They should just make their chip go to 11 and be done with it.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565759)

The real question is WTF happened to GDDR4?
The same fate that will happen to GDDR 6, 7 and 8.

The formula for GDDR versioning is 2^n+1, to avoid confusion with PCIe rates (2^n).

(Did I make it sound plausible enough? I'm interested in quitting programming and becoming the first marketing-decisions-to-laymen communications engineer.)

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (0)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563727)

In chip terms, lower voltage equals lower resistance equals less power consumed. In general, if two chips have the same performance and one can run at a lower voltage, it will be a more efficient chip.

If that drives you nuts, in parts of the semiconductor industry they use the unit g/mil^2 where a mil is a "milli-inch".

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563813)

Are you telling me that my old 5v 486 used more power than an amd64 4200?

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564033)

No, but they are hardly contemporaries, are they? The feature size is about an order of magnitude off.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (4, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564043)

Did you just make that up? Lower voltage does not equal (or even imply) lower resistance in "chip terms" or any other. Voltage has no impact on resistance. And it's not very common to hear anyone (with a clue) speak of "chip resistance" since it's a rather meaningless concept that provides the same info as voltage and current in a more roundabout way for no good reason.

Really, your statement is worse than not inaccurate, it's the opposite of accurate. Devices that use lower voltage tend to have higher currents (for the same function/efficiency.) Although the overall power tends to be lower, it's not as much lower as it would be if V were reduced and current were unchanged. Were this not true, you'd see power consumption for a line of devices fall with the square of their voltages. Of course this is not the case, since 1.5V devices don't tend to consume less than 1% of similar-function 5V devices. (Part of the reason is that lower voltage requires thinner gate dielectrics, which increases leakage current, and the smaller features of lower-voltage devices include thinner wires, with more resistance, which require more current for the same performance.)

That did drive me nuts, of course, because it was so wrong. Yet, the use of g/mil^2 to measure mass per area (grams per (0.001 x 0.001) inches.) doesn't bother me at all.

In short, everything you said is wrong.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564513)

Did you just make that up?
Relax, I'm just fuckin' with ya, in the spirit of Christmas. Yeah, I pretty much made that up.

But there is some truth to it, especially when comparing two very similar chips. I suspect it is just Samsung's attempt at keeping up with Intel's "low voltage" talk. Do a search on Google for "low voltage" and you will see all of the marketing fun.

I love the g/mil^2. First you have the substitution of grams for Newtons. Then you have the "metrification" of the standard units. And finally, you combine SI and standard units.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564411)

Uhh your ignoring mA consumption. Thats the real metric.

Lower voltage is only good for battery devices.
In a desktop it doesnt matter and having a higher voltage using less amps is better.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564421)

There's little point in explaining how the misleading phrase "consume volts" might not actually be entirely wrong (it is.)

They should have said "opperate at 1.5 volts".

That said: there are so many other factors invovled (not the least of which being frequency and feature size), saying "lower voltage equals lower resistance equals less power consumed" is, at best, as misleading as the original statement.

Finally, let me point out that the most common unit for for measuring pressures is a length. How's that for crazy?

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564549)

How's that for crazy?
I took me until engineering school to grasp why it didn't matter what the diameter of the column of mercury was.

I think they should measure chip power consumption in Libraries Of Congress. As in, the chip consumes just 1/127372839 of a Library of Congress.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

Shard013 (530636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565665)

Man I haven't laughed that hard at a comment for... like years!

Re: Simple proof... (1)

Namlak (850746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564295)

Get a voltmeter, place the black lead on ground and the read lead on the power lead of the chip. 1.5 Volts going in. Check.

Now move the red lead to the other power lead on the chip - Zero volts coming out! Where are these volts going? But it not accurate to say they are being *consumed* per se. The volts are stored in the form of magic smoke. When the chip is full of volts (as magic smoke), it stops working. Be careful, too many volts going in and you can burst the smoke tank, then you're really screwed!

(While performing this test, don't let the amps leak out of the power supply and onto the ...um... ground)

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

PWNT (985141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564465)

volts can be consumed because they are the potential energy in a circuit. A high voltage is always in reference to 'something' typically the ground (wherever that is). Therefore if you have +15 V at node A, and node A connects to node B through a resistor, the voltage at B will become less than A by moving through the resistor (as energy is converted to heat over time; power output) if all the potential energy (if it's not used it's potential) exists up until the point at which it passes through the resistor (assuming perfect conduction + no external noise).

Voltage is equivalent to velocity in other systems. Flowrate is equivalent to current. This is why we can use electronics to model various neat physical phenominea, because we can make the systems equivalent!

not a great explanation, but suitable for you.

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

shamgar03 (1115727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564863)

volts can be consumed because they are the potential energy in a circuit.
Actually volts are just electrical potential. Thats right, not energy, just potential. I will point you up above to the original comments regarding this whole consuming voltage business for your proper rebuttal. Basically your wrong, also voltage is velocity per car, or perhaps energy per car. Its straight up dumb to measure power consumption in voltage because we already have methods of measuring power consumption, in terms of....power, P (units watts aka joules/second).

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564953)

The voltage at node A and B will be the same assuming no current draw. The resistor limits current, not voltage.
-nB

Re:Consumes 1.5 Volts? (1)

Nykon (304003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564823)

num num num

Inaccurate summary (3, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562975)

it should be noted that it's 6Gbit per pin, not per chip.

Re:Inaccurate summary (4, Informative)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563289)

That would be implied by the aggregate 24G bytes/sec later in the article. So I guess they are still keeping the 32 I/O pins that the previous generation used and not quite doubling the speed. The article is also missing the size, which is a spec that hardware designers frequently wish to see, but I think it's probably still 512 Mbit or we would have heard about it.

Re:Inaccurate summary (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563717)

Yes it's still 512 Mbit. I think it's a 32x16.

Rumors (4, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563103)

This lends a bit of credence to the rumored NVidia G9 series launch [beyond3d.com] , although I still think February is unlikely.

Re:Rumors (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563753)

My older ATI x1950 XTX card came with 512MB of GDDR4 while the newer nVidia 8800GT uses GDDR3. Obviously the 8800GT is a faster card in every way in comparison. That said, what do bet there will be another G8 series using the new GDDR5?

So the main question is (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563111)

Will this make my porn look better--On second thought, I don't want to see Ron Jeremy any better. [shudders]. :P

Re:So the main question is (3, Funny)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563165)

so you admit looking at Ron Jeremy while watching porn? :P

Re:So the main question is (2, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563237)

Only turning off your screen could make Ron look better.

Re:So the main question is (4, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563431)

No. It will make it 20% faster.

No further comment.

Re:So the main question is (3, Informative)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564333)

Don't buy HD porn. Ever.

Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage please? (4, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563129)

Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips.

What poor science reporting. Nothing "consumes volts." Volts measure voltage -- difference in potential. Devices consume Joules -- units of energy. Also acceptable would be Watts -- energy per unit time. It would have been really nice to be given the Watts per Bandwidth per Size (W/Gbps/bits), but I realize that's asking way too much of the Times.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (2, Funny)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563195)

Watts that?

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563765)

Ohm my God.

What a terrible pun.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

kasparov (105041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564239)

I don't know--I thought it was a Joule.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563227)

But volts is a good unit of efficiency- it says nothing about power, but if a chip can run with less difference between vdd and ground, that's less of a potential that has to be available for it.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (3, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563291)

No, volts are not a good metric of efficiency. Voltage and current would be, but that's because Volts * Amps = Watts. If you need a real example to understand why, consider a 1.5V chip that draws 3 Amps and a 5V chip that draws 100mA, then tell me which is more "efficient" and how you'd know that from the voltages alone.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563455)

Well if Current = Voltage / Resistance, how much does resistance vary in practice in electronics?

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (3, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563571)

You mean across different devices? As much as current and power consumption do, which is to say, a lot. Many orders of magnitude. That's kind of a strange question that belies a weak understanding of electronics. We don't really speak of the "resistance" of a chip, because that's pretty much meaningless. You could calculate an "effective resistance" by R = V / I, but it's not very meaningful or useful to do so.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564875)

How is this a troll, exactly?

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (5, Informative)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563735)

The difference is we are talking about semiconductor devices. Losses from these semiconductor devices are primarily due to leakage and switching. As long as we're still using silicon, leakage will be roughly 0.5 V^2/R, no matter how much current you pump through the transistors. Switching losses occur in when logic changes from 1's to 0's due to the capacitance of the transistors. The power lost here is roughly 0.5 f C V^2, where f is the switching frequency and C is the capacitance (material dependent). The V^2's means that reducing the voltage has a significant impact on losses. If we note that R and C are completely determined by the material (silicon) and the fabrication process, we can see that as long as the frequency is held constant, the voltage is a reasonable metric for comparing power consumption in silicon devices.

Of course this analysis is purely approximate since there are a lot of there things going in the devices. And I'm assuming complete capacitive discharge (independent of switching frequency), and didn't consider the changes in refresh rate to this DRAM device. But suffice it to say voltage is still a pretty good metric for comparison (until you actually build the thing and test it).

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21564783)

EE was ten years ago, so I'll trust you on the formulas, but all you're saying is that *for the same chip*, power consumption will go down as the square of voltage, and up linearly with frequency (that's assuming that the characteristics of the material id not affected by those, which we'll just assume is correct).

However, if it's a different chip, R and C are different, so it's meaningless to use voltage to compare power consumption with existing designs (or processes).

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565445)

Gosh its nice to see some non fuzzy maths that actually mean something.

Informative? Where are the EE's in slashdot? (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565605)

Oh right, I'm an EE.

The difference is we are talking about semiconductor devices. Losses from these semiconductor devices are primarily due to leakage and switching.

Ok. That really doesn't change anything.

As long as we're still using silicon, leakage will be roughly 0.5 V^2/R, no matter how much current you pump through the transistors.

What the hell do you mean, 'no matter how much current you pump through the transistors?' You gave me R for a reason. Here's where your formula comes from: P = V*I, I=V/R, transistor is only on 50% of the time (50% duty cycle). 0.5 * V * (V/R). I don't know R for that memory chip, nor do I know the current, so I don't know the power loss.

The power lost here is roughly 0.5 f C V^2, where f is the switching frequency and C is the capacitance (material dependent).

That comes from the reactive power, and it's actually 0.5 * 2*pi * f * C * V^2. The impedance of a capacitor is 1/(2*pi*f*C). Thus the power equation is the same equation as above, but the impedance of a purely resistive circuit was just R.

The V^2's means that reducing the voltage has a significant impact on losses.

Yes, but the voltage applied influences the current drawn, so it's not that current is irrelevant.

If we note that R and C are completely determined by the material (silicon) and the fabrication process

Which are pretty important variables. Do you know anything about the fabrication process of this new memory? Or the number of transistors? More transistors = more devices drawing power.

we can see that as long as the frequency is held constant, the voltage is a reasonable metric for comparing power consumption in silicon devices.

Also a very, very bad assumption, considering that the whole point of the thing seems to be that this memory can be clocked faster.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563927)

Difference between Vdd and ground means nothing in terms of efficiency. Modern switch-mode DC voltage converters work with efficiencies exceeding 98%. In fact, in modern power supplies, virtually all of the various voltage levels your system needs are generated by stepping up or down a different DC voltage.

The reason that you see a trend to lower and lower voltages is not because lower voltage = lower power. It's because in order to make transistors faster, you generally want to make them smaller (less area = lower capacitance) and you want to run them at a lower voltage (= less total charge to move to switch between a 1 to a 0). The problem with smaller, lower-voltage transistors is that they are more fragile (they have thinner gates, which higher voltages would fry), and higher leakage current (which makes them more inefficient - sometimes much more so). We've seen a lot of companies trying to reduce the power usage of the current generation of devices. That is not because they're running at lower power. It's because transistor companies have been spending tons of money doing materials and device physics research trying to find new ways to make transistors in order to overcome the problems caused by trying to make them smaller and faster. There have been some major recent advances [iht.com] .

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563307)

Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips.
What poor science reporting. Nothing "consumes volts."
No no, you misunderstand. The author of the article meant that this chip can eat one standard AA battery. After that, it gets full.

*Results may vary for AAA, C, and D batteries. B batteries are only a myth, anyone who believes in them probably also believes that P=IE is some EE's recipe for a tasty tart.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563635)

Actually, they did make B batteries [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

flibbajobber (949499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564435)

"B" batteries in the context of vacuum tube circuits refer to their function, not their form, so they are not contemporaries of AAA-, C- and D-sized cells

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564559)

If you read some of the other articles on the subject, it sounds like A and B at least where almost always of a certain size as well.

The sizes today don't just dictate form, they also tell you other characteristics such as voltages.

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (0, Redundant)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563775)

B Batteries were real. [wikipedia.org]

no, the problem with volts is not the science (4, Informative)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564209)

This has been understood in the industry for decades: in a given silicon process, power consumption fits roughly within the envelop V^2 * F, where F represents frequency. Given a process shrink, this relation might or might not hold true. For a long time it was a good rule of thumb, but then in the era of excessively high leakage current it did not hold true, more recently with better control over leakage, the relationship is again a good rule of thumb. The upshot is that, over two decades, almost every reduction in voltage for a given class of part corresponds to a significant increase in power efficiency.

What the article failed to explain is this long history of voltage serving as a proxy for power efficiency.

The other relationship is that a given part will usually demonstrate a relationship where lower frequencies are stable at lower voltages. If increasing the voltage by 20% allows you to overclock a processor from 2GHz to 3GHz, you can estimate your increased power draw as 1.2^2 * 1.5, about double where you started.

It's almost pointless to convert this measure into watts, as so many other variables change in tandem. The new part has different bandwidth, different latency, different leakage, different dynamic consumption. There's no simple number that gets you apples vs apples. Most of the time, however, voltage is fair proxy. Peak consumption figures are mostly worthless from an efficiency perspective, except for sizing your power and cooling requirements.

On a side note, I'm wondering when we hit the floor on practical CMOS voltage levels. Surely the band-gap will come into play in the near future, and then what? Does the efficiency graph suddenly develop a crimp and stagger forward on a much reduced slope? This happened with hard drives, where there was a period of accelerated capacity increase (PRML/GMR/pixie-dust era) only to return to the more sedate curve once again later on. It wasn't long ago that F hit thin air (due to thermal issues) and now F is increasing at half the rate it sustained for a least a decade prior.

Long ago apparently respectable sources used to proclaim "silicon will hit the brick wall at 0.1um". In turns out S-curves hardly ever play out that way. The curve begins to taper downward when the easy gains are exhausted. The phrase "peak oil" is another one of those conceptual nightmares, much like the chimeric brick-wall on photo lithography. It's not going to be a peak, is it? It's going to be a wavy plateau. On any particular graph, you can point to a "peak" (though none of the graphs will agree), it's just that there won't be a momentous Alderan-disturbance that ripples though planet earth as the precocious metaphor suggests. Much like the silicon people had to finally confess, driving F higher and higher as your primary performance metric (at the cost of absolute efficiency) makes about as much sense in the long run as a single-occupancy air-conditioned Hummer in rush hour traffic.

Speaking of which, engine displacement is roughly as fair as a measure in the automotive sector as voltage in silicon. It's the nature of the internal combustion engine that these engines are far from their peak efficiency at low to medium throttle, which is why having a lot of power you rarely use is no free lunch. If you accept that a typical 2 liter engine is more efficient than a typical 3 liter engine, why would voltage as a proxy for power be any different?

Re:no, the problem with volts is not the science (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564607)

It's almost pointless to convert this measure into watts, as so many other variables change in tandem. The new part has different bandwidth, different latency, different leakage, different dynamic consumption. There's no simple number that gets you apples vs apples. Most of the time, however, voltage is fair proxy. Peak consumption figures are mostly worthless from an efficiency perspective, except for sizing your power and cooling requirements.

Why does it have to be just one "simple" number? How about give me Watts, bandwidth, and size (bits)? If you have to have just one number, multiply the ones you want higher and divide by the one you want lower (i.e., Gbps*bits/W or whatever.)

Re:Consuming Volts? How about actual Wattage pleas (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564775)

Hey, if people couldn't abuse units of measurement then Han Solo would never have been able to do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

Consume 1.5 Volts? (0, Redundant)

tist (1086039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563133)

I'm thinking that was not written by an EE (or anybody else that commonly speaks about electronics and efficiency.) I would suppose they operate at 1.5 volts and consume some number of amps. Volts alone doesn't say much about their power consumption... (P=IE)

JW

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563321)

The issue is that the current is variable in a complex semiconductor device. It changes as the device switches. The voltage you apply to it is constant though. (of course most devices allow you to apply a range of voltages).

Why we should care about a semiconductor operating on 1.5 volts versus 2.0 volts, I am not sure. We certainly cannot estimate how long it will run on a battery, or how much we will have to pay the power company with voltage being the only metric given to us.

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563475)

The issue is that the current is variable in a complex semiconductor device. It changes as the device switches.

Which is why peak power (calculated as voltage * peak current) is usually reported. Not really much of an issue, since who cares about minimum current/power or how each exactly change over time? I guess average may be nice, but peak is the best. And voltage is useless without some measure of current also, as you mention in the latter half of your post.

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564215)

And voltage is useless without some measure of current also

This is only loosely related but reflects one of my peeves. This is why a measure of HP is equally worthless without a torque curve. So many "motor heads" are clueless as to why this matters and get hung up on HPx > HPy.

Take a look at Ford's Mustang. When they changed from 5.0 to 4.6 liter, the HP rating went up but the car got slower. Why? HP = torque*RPM. It takes the 4.6 longer (lower torque) to develop peak HP, and by the time it is, the race was long over. With a torque curve you'll have a better idea of what the HP rating actually means.

Long story short, HP rating, by it self, it meaningless.

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (2, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564907)

You can settle the whole issue by bolting a wing to the back of your Civic and slapping a soup can "Piss-Off-The-Neighbors" exhaust on it.

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565651)

In motorcycles we think about HP and pound-feet. Since there can be dramatic difference between two bike engines. You can buy a Harley which is more torque than HP, or a street bike(aka rice rocket) which is more HP than torque. Generally we think of HP as the speed limit. (or at least that is how I have been taught)

A small bike might be 65HP and 40ftlb and might typically top out at around 120mph. And 0-60 in like 6 seconds. That's how riders think because my idea of a "small bike" is going to perform dramatically differently from someone else's idea of a small bike. (fwiw I'm using my 2006 bonneville as a reference for my numbers)

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564051)

If there's capacitance in the circuit (and there always is), then a lower voltage means less current. Less current means less power.

I = C * dV/dT .. so, if you manage to get something to work at half the voltage, you can double the frequency (speed) and still consume the same power.

Duhm summaries (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563573)

I read this while consuming some chips, now my head hurts.

The only slight mitigation here is that P = V^2/R, or I = V/R so reducing voltage reduces current too. Of course that does make TFS accurate.

Re:Duhm summaries (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563657)

No, reducing voltage only reduces current for the same resistance (which means the same type of device.) I'm pretty sure this "20% more efficient" claim is a comparison to previous generation devices, which means it's not the same device, or the same resistance. You can't just drop the voltage on a device and get the same performance and lower power! In general, operating at lower voltages requires thinner gate oxides (which increases leakage current) and requires stronger-drive transistors (which requires more current, eating up some of the gains from lower voltage.)

Sigh.

Re:Consume 1.5 Volts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21564053)

Wish people would look at time stamps before modding. Two posts happened at the same time.

creators intend for us to have pleasant memories (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563175)

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Slashdot users... (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563189)

Ahh, Slashdot users... when you take 6 units at a junior college and work 20 hours a week at Best Buy, what *aren't* you qualified to talk about?

^_^

Re:Slashdot users... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563443)

You overestimate us, sir.

Re:Slashdot users... (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563507)

I dunno, you tell me -- slashdot user who took 6 units at a junior college and works 20 hours a week at Best Buy -- what *aren't* you qualified to talk about?

As for me, I'm an EE so I'm qualified to talk about anything that matters ;)

Not to rain on everybody's parade.. (0)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563257)

but what exactly about this story is novel. The article was pretty bland. With Moore's law anybody can pretty much predict that chipsets and RAM are going to get faster. Now what would have been interesting is to see price comparisons, predictions on what this will mean for the consumer, testing of the product, discussion of the architecture, insight into the manufacturing process, etc. I guess it's just the fact that it was from a mainstream source, but this article was about as useful as a press release, ie not very.

Re:Not to rain on everybody's parade.. (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563535)

I agree.
Incidently, I found reading about Colossus, and it's older hardware, more interesting.

Quick survey (1)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563405)

How many people here keep up with the latest and greatest graphics card? I know that the newest may get you more fps in some game, but are there really that many people who regularly go spend $400+ for the latest and greatest in graphic cards?

Re:Quick survey (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563681)

NVidia 8800 GT can be had for about $200 to $250 depending on the bundle, and is currently rated the best card to have, beating out even the 8800 GTS and other $400+ cards.

Re:Quick survey (1)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563963)

I stand corrected. It all makes sense now.

Re:Quick survey (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565787)

The GTX and Ultra are still faster than the GT. Just not by enough to make the extra $300 worth it.

Re:Quick survey (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564693)

I don't, but mostly because I've had an AGP-computer for the last few years.

But now with my new system, I do intend to upgrade graphics card every 2 year or so. I won't get the latest and greatest though, thats usually not worth it. Its often just factory overclocked cards anyways.

What about Latency? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563415)

What is the CAS Latency of said chips? The article didn't say.

Re:What about Latency? (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565771)

Who cares? It's video RAM.

Samsung has announced a new line of chimps (1)

waltew (764415) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563567)

In addition to faster data delivery the new chimps also claim to consume less energy than previous versions. Could be. Chips Outscore College Students on Memory Test. Most likely. I'm getting tired.

GDDR4 (1)

srealm (157581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564063)

Missing Floppies?

I Have a Question... (1)

WeekendKruzr (562383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21564085)

How come we never see the insides of graphics cores the way that CPU manufacturers release pics of the internals of their CPUs? I looked and couldn't find any. Now that AMD makes both CPUs and GPUs will it start do so? What gives?

Reminds me of a commercial (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565429)

The summary reminds me of a commercial from several years back that purportedly allowed you to give your own car a jump start through the cigarette lighter. One of the selling points for the device was how it was supposedly better than the actual battery in your car. To prove it, they hooked a multimeter up to each one, while the voiceover said, "Your normal car battery has only 12 volts of energy. But {our product} has 48 volts of energy!"

This was almost as good as the one where one of those ionic air filters was "electrostatically charged... like a magnet!"

Eventually, one of these advertising agencies got tired of being ridiculed. When they made a commercial for one of those "shake vigorously to charge" flashlights that has a magnet that moves through a coil when you, er, shake it, they actually put Ampere's Law in integral form on the screen to prove how smart they are.

Where's 4? (1)

Oroki (1197885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21565599)

Same reason there was no such thing as Arctic Silver 4 thermal paste. "Arctic Silver replied to me regarding my question of why they decided to skip the name of Arctic Silver 4 and decided to go straight from AS3 to AS5. The number 4 is not very comfortable with Asians since it sounds very similar to the word d**th and therefore to keep the interest of their Asian customers, they decided to not name the next AS compound AS4 but to AS5. Being Chinese myself, 4 is very badly connotated and it was a wise marketing strategy in both the customers and Arctic Silver's interest to skip naming their Arctic Silver compound Arctic Silver 4." http://www.slcentral.com/thermal-compound/page2.php [slcentral.com]

Re: Where's 4? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21565825)

"The number 4 is not very comfortable with Asians since it sounds very similar to the word d**th"

Wheras, among American computer enthusiasts, the letter/number combination AS5 sounds very similar to "Jack Thompson".
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