Samsung expands memory leadership with industry-first 12GB uMCP
on Nov 26, 2019
When, in 2012, a major smartphone producer announced that it was releasing a handset with 2GB of RAM, the industry reacted with shock. Likewise in 2015, when the first smartphone with 4GB of RAM launched, the industry marveled at how much memory could be packed into such a small package. When 2017 saw the first handset to release with 8GB of RAM – roughly the same as that of a high-performance PC or video game console – some claimed that smartphones were now incorporating more RAM than users would ever actually need.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that those commentators were sorely mistaken. In an age where we expect our smartphones to act as quickly and innovatively as PCs one minute, and perform like gaming systems the next, RAM is the critical foundational component that delivers on those expectations. Not only do we expect our phones to be able to perform to a very high standard, but we often want to be able to multitask and use different features simultaneously. And that is why, when it comes to the eventuation of these shifting demands, we trust technology developers to anticipate future trends and equip their solutions so that they’re ready to meet them.
The Future of Mobile Memory
Amid these rapidly expanding demands, Samsung has broken through the 8GB threshold and set a new standard for mobile memory. Just seven months after releasing its 12GB LPDDRX (low-power double data rate) package, Samsung has announced that it has begun producing the world’s first 24Gb LPDDR4X chips. By combining these chips into a uMCP (UFS-based multi-chip package), Samsung has been able to produce its 12GB LPDDR4X uMCP, which will allow it to provide 12GB of memory and data transfer rates of 4,266 Mbps to smartphones.
This new standard – a sizeable 50% increase on the previous threshold – will ensure that Samsung smartphones are equipped to keep up with the demands of modern users, which include things like gaming, multi-tasking and 4K video recording, all on devices with industry-leading screen resolutions. Not only will this overhaul of mobile memory enable these current use cases, but it will also ensure that devices are underpinned by the memory infrastructure to keep up with the innovations of the future, which include things like AI and machine learning.
What is the 12GB uMCPs?
uMCP stands for ‘UFS-based multi-chip package’. UFS is an innovation that was first used in Samsung’s Galaxy S6, and which has since become the industry staple for high-end smartphones. Standing for ‘universal flash storage’, UFS provides superior performance with its higher read/write speeds and is especially optimal for data-heavy applications like capturing images and videos.
The ‘multi-chip package’ part of the solution’s name relates to how it is built. The 12GB LPDDR4X solution is comprised of four of Samsung’s 24Gb LPDDRX chips and underpinned by its ultra-fast UFS 2.1 NAND storage. The company also provides a 10GB uMCP solution, which is comprised of two 24Gb chips, two 16Gb chips and the same UFS 2.1 NAND storage. Combining the UFS’s rapid speed with the multi-chip package’s reduced footprint, the uMCP solution has proven much faster than competing eMCP and eMMC solutions. Global industry analysis firm Counterpoint has anticipated that uptake of uMCP solutions will increase exponentially, reaching a market share of 13% by 2023.
Why RAM is Important
RAM stands for random access memory. Put simply, it is a kind of temporary memory that stores important files so that they can be accessed quickly. This temporary memory serves as an intermediary between the processing cores and the file system and speeds up computing on the device by preventing it from having to seek out every file from its source before performing an action. The RAM used in smartphones is actually DRAM, with the ‘D’ standing for ‘dynamic’. DRAM is a special type of memory that refreshes constantly and, as a result, is able to adapt quickly to whatever tasks need to be performed at any given time.
When Samsung introduces its new uMCP solution, it will become the first company to provide a 12GB LPDDR4X-based uMCP. But this isn’t all that Samsung is doing for the future of memory. Although premium memory solutions have often only been found on flagship offerings in the past, Samsung is prioritizing incorporating its top-of-the-line memory innovations into mid-range devices as well.
As demand has increased for mid-range smartphones, expectations have risen too. These more affordable devices are now expected to include dual-camera features, provide top-of-the-line gaming experiences and include AI-ready features just like their flagship cousins. Hence, Samsung’s new uMCP solution is bringing 10+ GB of RAM to mid-range devices as well, ensuring that they too are equipped to deal with a wide range of intensive demands. In a sector as increasingly multi-faceted as the smartphone market, Samsung is working to underpin as many of its solutions as possible with the best in memory solutions, ensuring that its devices provide comprehensively excellent performance.
As smartphones become an increasingly central facet of our society, Samsung is doing the important work of ensuring that they are underpinned with premium memory infrastructure. These solutions ensure not only that smartphones are equipped to deal quickly and innovatively with a wide range of memory-intensive demands, but that they will be ready and willing platforms for the innovations of tomorrow. Samsung isn’t only deepening smartphone excellence though – it is broadening it as well. The company’s focus on bringing premium solutions to mid-range smartphones is indicative of its commitment to ensuring excellent performance not just for premium devices, but right across the board.