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ISC12 Samsung is promoting its green memory here at ISC 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, saying its 20nm-class DRAM uses less electricity than 50nm-class RAM and runs cooler too. Oh, and it costs the same.

To set the scene, consider an HPC set-up with 400 compute nodes, each with 96GB of 50nm-class RAM. Going by a Samsung figures that would draw 47,200 watts.

Samsung has a neat demo showing two identical Westmere-powered servers running the same workload. One has 96GB of Samsung DDR3 50nm-class RAM and the other 96GB of the 20nm stuff. The 50nm chips draw 118 watts while the 20nm-class ones draw 46 watts: a 72 watt difference. The 20nm chip system runs at 42.1 degrees C and the 50nm one at 59 degrees C.

Returning to the 400-node HPC configuration the electricity draw with 20nm RAM would be 18,400 watts, a 28,800 watt saving. That's not to be sneezed at, especially when the thing runs cooler as well and you can add in lower cooling costs.

Samsung Semiconductor Europe GmBH's Peyman Blumstengel, a senior manager for strategic business development, said the reason was simple. The paths traversed by the electrons in the smaller process chips are shorter, so less energy is needed to push them around the chips. He said: "We are basically one or two generations ahead of our competitors."

Blumstengel said the 20nm RAM chips are currently being sampled with volume shipments expected to start before the end of the year. ®

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