or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Micron DDR4 RAM rumored to improve battery life, speed in Apple's future iPhones, iPads & Macs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Micron DDR4 RAM rumored to improve battery life, speed in Apple's future iPhones, iPads & Macs

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
A mysterious $250 million payment to memory maker Micron has fueled speculation that the company's new LPDDR4 DRAM could be making its way to future Apple products, potentially as soon as its next generation of iPhone, iPad and Mac models.




Independent analyst Matt Margolis noted the mystery payment to Micron on his blog this week, where he noted that Micron purchased memory maker Elpida last July for $2 billion. Apple has been an Elpida customer for some time, and utilized its LPDDR3 DRAM in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and latest MacBook Air last year.

Most notably, one gigabyte of Elpida's DDR3 RAM is found in Apple's custom A7 processor, which powers the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display.

The unnamed customer who prepaid for some $250 million in components from Micron has a deal that runs through September 2016. That led Margolis to speculate this week that the deal could be for new Apple products expected to be introduced in late 2014 and beyond.

In promoting its LPDDR4 DRAM technology, Micron has claimed that the new memory offers greater power efficiency, boasting 10 hours of active tablet time with an 1.5 Ah battery, and 8 hours use on a phone with 1.4 Ah battery. Performance is also said to be improved with two times the bandwidth.

Those improvements could be seen in future A-series chips from Apple, perhaps as soon as an anticipated "A8" processor this year in the next generation of iPhones and iPads. It's also possible that Micron's DDR4 RAM could offer performance boosts in upcoming refreshes to Apple's MacBook lineup.

Apple has a history of prepaying for components in bulk to secure a better deal. Most notably, the company was ahead of the curve in investing in flash memory as it ramped up production of the iPhone, iPad and new Macs built on speedy solid-state NAND flash.
post #2 of 25
"It's also possible that Micron's DDR4 RAM could offer performance boosts in upcoming refreshes to Apple's MacBook lineup".

Yeah, and HOPEFULLY in a NEW MAC MINI! C'mon, real ease it already!!!
post #3 of 25
It should be pointed out that Micron is not the only one making LPDDR4, in fact, the presentation that Mr. Margolis focuses on, though presented by a Micron employee, is just discussing the LPDDR4 standard in general (it is a JEDEC standard, which is the body that defines memory standards like DDR and LPDDR). There is nothing in the article that indicates that Micron has a 'special' LPDDR4, just that they (like the other memory vendors) will be producing LPDDR4. All of the "Other key benefits of Micron%u2019s LPDDR4" he mentions apply to everyone else's LPDDR4 because it is a standard.

Apple does tend to buy in bulk and maybe they are buying LPDDR4 from Micron. What would be far more exciting is if the money to Micron (which may or may not be from Apple) were for some of their more advanced memory parts like the Hybrid Memory Cube (http://www.micron.com/products/hybrid-memory-cube).
post #4 of 25
"It's also possible that Micron's DDR4 RAM could offer performance boosts in upcoming refreshes to Apple's MacBook lineup".

Yeah, and HOPEFULLY in a NEW MAC MINI! C'mon guys, release it already!!
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee48 View Post

"It's also possible that Micron's DDR4 RAM could offer performance boosts in upcoming refreshes to Apple's MacBook lineup".



Yeah, and HOPEFULLY in a NEW MAC MINI! C'mon guys, release it already!!

 



Wouldn't count on it.

First Generation RAM tech tends to be equivalent to previous generation performance, the difference being that they want you to pony up that "new" premium. Give it 2 years at least after launch to start seeing the fabled performance increases.
post #6 of 25
Here's some items of interest from the link in the original article:

Quote:
LPDDR4 DRAM Memory – Why it’s Awesome for Apple Gadget Lovers

Micron highlighted their LPDDR4 DRAM memory technology presentation almost a year ago at a Mobile Forum. Some of the key targets of DRAM mobile power requirements include:

Tablets – 10 hours active with a 11.5 Ah battery
Phones – 8 hours active with a 1.4 Ah battery
Phones are targeting 10+ days of standby
Tablets in “connected standby” targeting 2+ weeks

Another issue plaguing the Mobile power efficiency is heat sink, “Heat spreaders are being used to move heat to the case, away from the memory/processor,” this would explain give another reason why Apple has pursued sapphire screens with GT Advanced Technologies for their ultra hard makeup and their ability to dissipate heat away from the processor.


Other key benefits of Micron’s LPDDR4 include:

Power Neutrality
2x Bandwidth Performance (performance improvement)

Low pin count (easy to connect)
Low cost (margin preservation!)

Depending on availability, I can see these be used in everything from an iPad, iPhone to an AppleTV -- don't know if it is the best solution for Macs.

The next iPad and a new AppleTV could certainly benefit from more, faster RAM -- say, on an A7X or an A8 SoC package.

As discussed in other threads, there is a possibility of using the sapphire Apple is making as a substrate for other chips -- specifically SoS (Silicon on Sapphire) a form of SoI (Silicon on Insulator) that offers superior [less] current leakage and [more] heat dissipation that'd standard silicon semiconductors.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #7 of 25
The iPad sure it catching up with desktop computers faster than I thought it would.
post #8 of 25
Not sure about iOS devices, but the only Mac that might see this for now is the next-gen Mac Pro.

Intel will only be supporting DDR4 on Socket 2011 for the foreseeable future. All "Core" chips (except the HPDT line that Apple never used) will remain on DDR3 until Broadwell, which is not before 2015.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The iPad sure it catching up with desktop computers faster than I thought it would.

Well, if PCs are trucks… and iPads are cars… I guess that makes a power iPad an SUV or minivan!
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #10 of 25
Better RAM? Great! Now HOW ABOUT MORE OF IT???
FEAR GOOGLE
Reply
FEAR GOOGLE
Reply
post #11 of 25
I like your thinking here!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by afrodri View Post

It should be pointed out that Micron is not the only one making LPDDR4, in fact, the presentation that Mr. Margolis focuses on, though presented by a Micron employee, is just discussing the LPDDR4 standard in general (it is a JEDEC standard, which is the body that defines memory standards like DDR and LPDDR). There is nothing in the article that indicates that Micron has a 'special' LPDDR4, just that they (like the other memory vendors) will be producing LPDDR4. All of the "Other key benefits of Micron%u2019s LPDDR4" he mentions apply to everyone else's LPDDR4 because it is a standard.
It may not be special but the various manufactures have the ability to exceed others quality wise honestly if Microns RAM draws a few micro amps less than the competition it is a big advantage in mobile. Beyond that Micron has had a long relationship with Apple.
Quote:
Apple does tend to buy in bulk and maybe they are buying LPDDR4 from Micron. What would be far more exciting is if the money to Micron (which may or may not be from Apple) were for some of their more advanced memory parts like the Hybrid Memory Cube (http://www.micron.com/products/hybrid-memory-cube).

Hybrid Memory Cube would be a wonderful turn of events! The speed of this stuff is pretty incredible but you need the right interface on your processor. This is where Apples DIY designs are a big advantage, they don't need to wait for Intel to implement a Memory Cube interface on their processors. The bandwidth would be a huge plus for any machine running an integrated GPU. It would be very interesting to see Intel do a custom processor with a Memory Cube interface just for Apple.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee48 View Post

"It's also possible that Micron's DDR4 RAM could offer performance boosts in upcoming refreshes to Apple's MacBook lineup".

Yeah, and HOPEFULLY in a NEW MAC MINI! C'mon guys, release it already!!

Maybe. There are rumors about that Intel will be implementing DDR 4 in some of the Haswell refresh models. I'm not sure I believe this but it would be nice. It would make the boring Haswell refresh far more interesting. Problem is nothing on CPU-World supports those rumors.

At this point Haswell refresh comes in June. If true that could mean next year before we see a Mini with DDR4.
post #13 of 25
Does the soldered RAM in the Retina MacBook Pro support ECC like the Mac Pro? One would hope that it does, since replacing faulty memory would require replacing the entire logic board.
Edited by Haggar - 4/3/14 at 4:59pm
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Does the soldered RAM in the Retina MacBook Pro support ECC like the Mac Pro? One would hope that it does, since replacing faulty memory would require replacing the entire logic board.

ECC isn't supported at the chipset level on those processors. Beyond that ECC memory can still fail. You're thinking of defective sticks causing unstable behavior, which would be more of a warranty issue. If you're out of warranty, inquire about a flat rate repair. Typically they'll quote you something around $350 to fix whatever is wrong, including a logic board. That assumes no signs of abuse and may not apply to consumable parts such as batteries. Ram is not one of the more likely points of failure though.

post #15 of 25

I think the BIGGER news is that DDR3 16 GB modules are now being produced which will work for MacBook Pros like 2011 vintage, which mean MBPs with 32 GB total!!!  ;)

 

http://www.intelligentmemory.com/dram-modules/ddr3-so-dimm/

 

A little birdie tells me OWC is working on this too...  :)

 


Edited by libertyforall - 4/3/14 at 7:14pm
post #16 of 25

I hope this is indeed true.

 

Apple needs to up its memory capacity to 2GB ( or Heck even 1.5GB ) for its 64bit SoC. Like Anand pointed out it is likely most application runs into memory bottleneck before CPU bottleneck.

 

The problem is the only way to get Double the Capacity while using the same power is to move to LPDDR4, and LPDDR4 isn't even going to standardize until mid 2014. Which ( I thought ) is unlikely to make it into iPhone 6......

 

LPDDR4 also means double the bandwidth, which means the next Apple CPU could likely benefit will even better prefetch therefore higher IPC, and GPU won't be as bandwidth limited.

 

The current iOS devices are quite memory limited, since iOS does not do any paging to NAND, and its memory are shared between GPU and CPU as well.

 

Quote:
 Hybrid Memory Cube

 

As far as i know. HMC offer substantially lower power when compared to Ultra High Bandwidth Memory Solutions. i.e The claim that it offer 70% lower power are in comparison to Multi Channel DDR / GDDR config. It is not really designed for the Mobile power usage ( Until someday it is further refined ). 


Edited by ksec - 4/3/14 at 9:53pm
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

The problem is the only way to get Double the Capacity while using the same power is to move to LPDDR4, and LPDDR4 isn't even going to standardize until mid 2014. Which ( I thought ) is unlikely to make it into iPhone 6......
Is this one of those things where they can design with the draft standard even though it hasn't been finalised and signed off?

Since Apple design their own SoCs I would have thought that was be an ok thing to do, unless there are licensing or IP issues.

censored

Reply

censored

Reply
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I hope this is indeed true.
Yep it would be very nice to see much faster RAM in my next iPad.
Quote:
Apple needs to up its memory capacity to 2GB ( or Heck even 1.5GB ) for its 64bit SoC. Like Anand pointed out it is likely most application runs into memory bottleneck before CPU bottleneck.
In relation to the iPad RAM has always been a bottle neck. 1GB just doesn't cut it these days and the alternatives to large RAM foot prints just mask the problem and slow the machine down. I'm so convinced of the seriousness of the RAM problem on my iPad 3 that I won't up grade until Apple at least doubles available RAM. However 4GB would be an even better move.
Quote:
The problem is the only way to get Double the Capacity while using the same power is to move to LPDDR4, and LPDDR4 isn't even going to standardize until mid 2014. Which ( I thought ) is unlikely to make it into iPhone 6......
How quickly something supporting DDR 4 can be implemented depends upon how well the spec has been defined. Let's face it Apple most likely has working systems with DDR 4 and other innovative RAM interfaces up and running for test and verification. New hardware could come pretty quickly after shipping DDR 4 RAM hits vendor shelves.
Quote:
LPDDR4 also means double the bandwidth, which means the next Apple CPU could likely benefit will even better prefetch therefore higher IPC, and GPU won't be as bandwidth limited.
This is a huge consideration for all Apple products using integrated graphics so likely isn't the case here, they will benefit. For most APUs testing show pretty close to a linear speed up in performance as faster RAM is implemented right up to current RAM performance limits.
Quote:

The current iOS devices are quite memory limited, since iOS does not do any paging to NAND, and its memory are shared between GPU and CPU as well.
Yep a huge problem for Safari, photo editing software and a host of other RAM hungry apps. In the case of Safari you could be burning up bandwidth due to the lack of RAM.
Quote:

As far as i know. HMC offer substantially lower power when compared to Ultra High Bandwidth Memory Solutions. i.e The claim that it offer 70% lower power are in comparison to Multi Channel DDR / GDDR config. It is not really designed for the Mobile power usage ( Until someday it is further refined ). 
Maybe, I would have to go back and read up on it but I thought the spec was with respect to DDR. If so a 70% cut in power is non trivial and puts the power levels very close to LPDDDR levels. It does this with some pretty amazing performance numbers and a low pin count interface. It might not be the thing for a cell phone but in an iPad that bandwidth could certainly be put to use. Especially if they continue to improve GPU performance and if that increased performance requires substantially more bandwidth. A 2GB Memory Cube module would fit nicely into an iPad as they have defined a half sized module for compact applications.

Memory Cube would also be interesting for a follow on machine to the Apple TV that supports gaming and other apps. Wether or not Apple goes this route most likely depends upon economics. I'm not sure Memory Cube is destined for the volumes Conventional DRAM is. Still the product has interesting capabilities and I think Apple would be foolish to ignore it. Memory Cube tech could end up shipping in a future Mac Pro though. That is if Intel adopts it.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Is this one of those things where they can design with the draft standard even though it hasn't been finalised and signed off?
It is almost a certainty that Apple would be working on their own IP or with that of a vendor to implement a DDR 4 interface on their processors already. These things take time, further before a standard can be approved you really should demonstrate that the technology works. In the past that would likely have been done by vendors like Intel and Micron. Apple, now being a processor designer, has to be doing much of this work themselves and likely started when the designs first started to gel in the future standards.
Quote:
Since Apple design their own SoCs I would have thought that was be an ok thing to do, unless there are licensing or IP issues.

Licensing is up to the entity creating the standard. However working on the interface already is really a requirement otherwise Apple would end up shipping very out of date products. In the same way Micron and other DRAM manufactures have been designing, constructing and testing these new interfaces in their R&D labs. Eventually the standards and the designs get frozen. So whatever RAM interface Apple moves to, I'm pretty sure they have substantial development work already put into the interface on their SoC.

On a side note the Memory Cube alliance says that their devices are 70% more efficient per bit than DDR3 though they don't get into specifics about that. In reference to LPDDR 4 there is this interesting presentation: http://www.jedec.org/sites/default/files/M_Greenberg_Mobile%20Forum_May_%202013_Final.pdf that still uses that funky power per bit parameter in relation to LPDDR 4 RAM. Interestingly power per bit can still be very significant, even with LPDDR, depending upon the interface implemented. Power can easily become several watts in a LPDDR RAM array, this just highlights why Apple limits the amount of RAM in its iOS devices. Too many RAM devices lead to lots of power being used especially if the bandwidth is actually out to use.

In the end Apple has a history of using LPDDR parts, however that doesn't mean they are bound to the technology. LPDDR should allow them to improve the RAM arrays in the iOS DEVICES with a minimal impact on battery life. I'm just not convinced that Apple and the industry will be ready for the launch of devices using this interface this year. The standard needs to be approved. On the other hand there is apparently shippable silicon out there waiting on the standard.
post #20 of 25
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
The iPad sure it catching up

 

BREAKING: I-pad still needs to catch up in market! AAPL down after hours on news!

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #21 of 25
Code:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

BREAKING: I-pad still needs to catch up in market! AAPL down after hours on news!

You would really have to wonder about an investor stupid enough to read these forums and then make investment decisions based upon what he reads. Sadly I think some do.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

BREAKING: I-pad still needs to catch up in market! AAPL down after hours on news!

Heh. I guess most investors are not interested in long term fundamentals but in predicting and/or causing short term fluctuations. Everyone wants to get rich quick.

post #23 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
 
Code:
You would really have to wonder about an investor stupid enough to read these forums and then make investment decisions based upon what he reads. Sadly I think some do.

Would you really expect such an investor to continue managing his own money over the longer term? Shifts in institutional investment probably had a much bigger effect.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by WS11 View Post

Snapdragon 810 was just announced for H1 2015.
By then Apple will be on second generation 64 bit hardware, maybe even third generation depending upon when J1 actually is.
Quote:
  • Process: 20 nm
  • CPU: 4x Cortex A57 + 4x Cortex A53 (8 core big.LITTLE)
I still see big.LITTLE as a lot of stupid. One low power core might make sense but four are a waste.
Quote:
[*] GPU: Adreno 430
Did you notice how small the CPU complex is with respect to the GPU or many other subsections of the chip? The CPU is important but it is the sum of the parts that delivers what people want out of a modern SoC. This is also true of Apples A series where the GPU is actually a much bigger component of the SoC.
Quote:
[*] RAM: LPDDR4-1600
Actually I think LPDDR4 is real important to Apple. It should allow them to double RAM without a significant power hit.
Quote:
[*] eMMC interface: 5.0
[*] LTE: Cat. 6 (4th gen)


I'm not trying to knock this processor as I see it as a very significant development but it is effectively a year away. I would not be surprised at all to see Apple deliver a 20 nm chip this year. What they will do with all of those transistors is unknown but I'm banking on enhanced GPUs, 4K encode and decode and maybe some logic to support Siri. They might even let the CPU slide a year.
post #25 of 25

MU... purchased at ~ $6 a couple years ago. :)

From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
Reply
From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Micron DDR4 RAM rumored to improve battery life, speed in Apple's future iPhones, iPads & Macs