Innovations in Memory Technology
Memory is one of the most critical components of computing, yet most of us don’t think much about it. On a recent episode of The Circuit podcast, hosts Ben Bajarin and Jay Goldberg interviewed memory expert Steven Woo to discuss the latest developments in memory technology.
Here is an expanded summary with some additional details:
# The Latest Innovations in Memory Technology
Memory is one of the most critical components of computing, yet most of us don’t think much about it. On a recent episode of The Circuit podcast, hosts Ben Bajarin and Jay Goldberg had an in-depth discussion with memory expert Steven Woo to explore the latest developments in memory technology.
Key Memory Technologies
The hosts asked Woo to explain the different types of DRAM memory and their use cases:
– DDR is the lowest cost, most widespread memory used in consumer devices and computers. New DDR standards are released every ~5 years.
– GDDR is optimized for graphics processing and used in graphics cards.
– HBM is a high bandwidth memory designed for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high performance computing applications that require massive memory capacity and bandwidth.
Driving Forces Behind Innovation
What is propelling the need for better memory?
– AI requires massive models with trillions of parameters, so more memory capacity enables training without chaining multiple systems together.
– High performance computing needs greater capacity to increase the number of processor cores.
– Graphics-intensive gaming requires GDDR innovations for better graphics.
– Consumers want new features and better battery life from mobile DRAM.
The Challenges of Memory Manufacturing
Woo explained that memory manufacturing has become extremely complex, with precision now down to the nanometer. He noted that it takes many cycles to become highly proficient due to the trial and error involved. This is why new Chinese memory makers faces challenges in competing with established giants like Samsung and Micron.
Milestones to Watch
Over the next 12-18 months, look for improvements in:
– AI training speeds enabled by new memory architectures
– More CPU cores indicating memory capacity increases
– Better graphics in gaming driven by GDDR
– Battery life and new features in mobile indicating mobile DRAM advances
Memory may not be glamorous, but it’s critical for computing. This podcast explored why it remains an essential bottleneck and enabler.