Growth in use cases such as video surveillance, smart home applications, and new 8K TVs are helping to boost demand for a new generation of systems-on-chip (SoCs) which offer higher performance. This is placing new demands on the DRAM associated with the SoC, and is driving development of new DRAM options which draw on existing specialty DRAM products supplied by Winbond.
In response to these trends, Winbond has developed a range of low- and mid-density memory product families to provide high performance and speed.
The company's existing LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 product lines have specific features which keep operating power consumption to a minimum and these features have helped its product portfolio to respond to the needs of AIoT and ultra-high resolution display applications.
Winbond’s LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 memory series provide a complete solution for a variety of customers. Lower-density memory is suitable for use in the T-Con (Timing Control) function of 8K TV panels, where LPDDR3 products with x32 or x64 data bandwidth can achieve high performance and offer a cost advantage. These T-Con chipsets require high-speed memories to support key features such as Super Resolution, MEMC and Artificial Intelligence Picture Quality (AI PQ).
In 8K TV T-con SoC designs, two or four 1Gb DDR3 x16 memory chips tend to be used. Replacing them with one or two 1Gb LPDDR3 x32 chips is now becoming more popular, in terms of both cost and performance.
In the AI PQ function as well, Winbond is seeing a trend in which two 1Gb LPDDR3 x64 memory chips are being used to replace LPDDR4 options. This trend 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.
Embedded system developers looking to upgrade LPDDR2 memory in new embedded SoCs to LPDDR4, 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. As a result, adopting LPDDR3 as the replacement for LPDDR2 is seen as offering a number of advantages because of the 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, according to Winbond.