Your motherboard can’t handle Samsung’s chonky new 512GB RAM modules

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Samsung is laying the groundwork for servers to pack in tens of terabytes of system memory with a world first: a 512GB PCIe 5.0 DRAM module. This is what the Compute Express Link (CXL) memory module was designed for, and allows for massive amounts of memory to be jammed into a system, operating over PCIe 5.0 rather than a standard memory slot. 

This is the first memory device that supports the PCIe 5.0 interface for data center and enterprise server usage. The South Korean hardware giant is certainly preparing us for the future of big data. 

This isn’t the first CXL memory module period, but it offers four times the memory capacity and a fifth of the latency compared to the previous generation. 

The CXL memory interface allows for better scaling of memory capacity, allowing multiple modules to be used together to get past the “tens of terabytes range,” which isn’t possible with traditional DDR. On top of expanding memory capacity, CXL also increases bandwidth to several terabytes per second.

If you were thinking about cramming one of these bad boys into the motherboard of your gaming rig: sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this DRAM is strictly for high-capacity enterprise servers and data centers. 

In a press release, Samsung says that the “growth of the metaverse, AI and big data” had attributed to the growing need for better and faster memory solutions. Samsung is part of a CXL Consortium designed to standardize CXL memory across the industry, similar to how the UCIe consortium spreads the good word of the Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express die-to-die interconnect standard, which would drive down costs and lead to some innovative new processor packages with great performance potential. 

Samsung will be sending its first batch of 512GB CXL DRAM to customers and partners later this year for what they are calling “joint evaluation and testing.” Samsung plans on updating its SMDK, a toolkit will allow users to integrate CXL memory into their existing systems without modifying existing application environments, later this month. Trust me: somewhere your IT guy is doing a back flip.

Cheolmin Park, VP of memory at Samsung, says that CXL DRAM will become a “critical turning point for future computing structures by substantially advancing artificial intelligence and big data services.”

And who knows, maybe we’ll all one day end up dropping in chunky CXL memory modules next to our graphics card in a future PCIe slot.

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