NEW ORLEANS Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are making separate proposals for a smart memory module that could pave the way for a new interconnect structure inside future PCs and servers.
Details were still sketchy on both proposals. However, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (Jedec) is expected to kick off in June a task group to study the competing approaches.
Both companies' plans essentially put a small piece of logic on a dual in-line memory module, initially in an effort to create denser memory systems for high-end servers. However, some backers believe the approach could plant the seeds of a more efficient memory bus in PCs and servers that could be used for both graphics and main memory. That interconnect someday might expand beyond DRAM to cover other memory types.
"One goal is very high density memory for high-end systems where a lot of our focus has been. This fits very well with our [64-bit] Opteron processors," said Steve Polzin, chief platform architect for AMD's processor group.
Polzin would not provide any details on the AMD approach, its backers or how it differs from Intel's plan. However, he did say the company expects to present its concept at the June Jedec meeting.
Intel, which made its proposal at the last Jedec meeting in Einhoeven, the Netherlands, declined to comment.
Dean Klein, vice president of market development at Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) sketched out the concept of a smart memory hub in a panel discussion at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here Wednesday (May 7). In addition to boosting memory density in high-end PCs, Klein suggested the approach could reduce latency, increase throughput and serve some low-end systems needs.
The smart DRAM hubs would probably not hit the market for about a year. Versions that could be used for other memory types such as flash or magnetic RAM might be three or four years away, Klein said.
"The industry needs to come together around a standard effort on a hub architecture. There are multiple proposals coming out over the next few months. This has been done in a little bit of a vacuum until now," he added.