Memory

LPDDR3 DRAM memory from Winbond for AIoT

30th April 2020
Alex Lynn

Winbond Electronics has revealed strong growth in opportunities for deployment of its innovative 1Gb LPDDR3 DRAM memory in a new generation of products which draw on new artificial intelligence (AI), display and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

The combination of IoT and AI technologies in emerging applications is expected to enjoy fast growth in the coming years. Winbond’s 1Gb LPDDR3 DRAM is the best memory option for new AI-based device designs aimed at this market.

Growth in use cases such as video surveillance, smart home applications, and new 8K TVs are boosting demand for a new generation of systems-on-chip (SoCs) which offer higher performance and which help OEMs achieve a faster time-to-market. This places new demands on the DRAM associated with the SoC, and is driving development of new DRAM options which draw on existing Specialty DRAM products from Winbond.

In response to these market trends, Winbond has developed a range of low- and mid-density memory product families to provide high performance and high speed, features which have helped it to create a successful business model.

For instance, the existing LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 product lines have specific features which keep operating power consumption to a minimum:

  • LP4x products have a low 0.6V operating voltage on the VDD2 power rail
  • Frequency Set Point (FSP) function

In addition, the 1Gb x32 LPDDR3 product provides a solution for achieving high bandwidth of 8.52GB/s while consuming as little as 0.3W.

These features have helped Winbond to expand its product portfolio to respond to the varied needs of AIoT and ultra-high resolution display applications.

Both Winbond’s LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 memory series provide a complete solution for a variety of customers. For instance, lower-density memory is suitable for use in the T-Con (Timing Control) function of 8K TV panels: LPDDR3 products with x32 or x64 data bandwidth can achieve high performance and offer a cost advantage.

These new T-Con chipsets require high-speed 1Gb LPDDR3 memories to support key features such as Super Resolution, MEMC and Artificial Intelligence Picture Quality (AI PQ). The LPDDR3 memories used in these SoCs are highly valued by IC design teams.

In 8K TV T-con SoC designs, two or four 1Gb DDR3 x16 memory chips are commonly used today. Replacing them with one or two 1Gb LPDDR3 x32 chips from Winbond offers a better solution in terms of both cost and performance. This approach could provide data throughput of 8.52GB/s or 17.04GB/s to meet the requirements of the design. The benefits include lower cost and power savings, and at the same time reduce the problem of DRAM pairing between two memory chips.

In the AI PQ function as well, Winbond can provide two 1Gb LPDDR3 x64 memory chips to replace LPDDR4 options. This will help engineering teams not only reduce cost but also cut development time. From an engineering perspective, the migration from LPDDR2 to LPDDR3 is much easier than jumping directly from LPDDR2 to LPDDR4.

This is because the LPDDR3 and LPDDR2 technologies share 90% of their circuit design features in common. This migration helps to shorten development time and reduce time-to-market for innovative end products.

Today’s embedded system developers face the challenge of upgrading LPDDR2 memory in new embedded SoCs. To handle migration from LPDDR2 to LPDDR4, IC design teams will need to invest resources to deal with the more critical signal integrity requirements of the LPDDR4 specification while observing tight timing margins. It takes a great deal of time to verify and test new designs. This heightens business risk, especially given that engineering teams in many countries are in lockdown because of the global coronavirus outbreak. Adopting LPDDR3 as the replacement for LPDDR2 offers great advantages because of the 90% overlap in features.

Over the past nine months, more than 15 design-in and design-win projects have implemented Winbond’s 1Gb LPDDR3 memory in new SoCs, with major IC design customers based in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China. The products using the 1Gb LPDDR3 include AIoT devices, an AI inference chip, a T-Con module for an 8K TV, AI-enabled video processors, smart speakers, smart video doorbells and mobile point-of-sale systems. Demand will begin ramping up during 2020 and 2021.

The trend to use AI technologies to power smart applications is ushering in a new era for semiconductor devices and embedded systems. It will bring many new opportunities but also many challenges. Winbond is a unique Integrated Device Manufacturer which is dedicated to providing a niche DRAM solution, including in a KGD (Known Good Die) format. The KGD option supports the provision of the best system-in-package (SiP) solution in many applications.

By exploiting its advanced design skills and production technologies, Winbond is continually boosting the competitive advantages of its dedicated brand-name products. Its complete product portfolio ranges from Mobile RAM and Specialty DRAM products to Flash memory product lines, which are designed to meet the demands of niche memory markets for high-speed memory with low power consumption. Operating its own 12-inch wafer fabrication plant, Winbond keeps pace with the latest technologies to provide cost competitiveness and long-term support for customers.

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