Boutique server memory maker Netlist has embiggened its HyperCloud DDR3 memory sticks to 32GB, ganging up cheap and low-capacity DDR3 memory chips with a register and virtual memory controller that allows the HyperCloud memory to break out of server memory constraints and do so with cheaper chips. As El Reg explained in detail …
Carry a big stick
This is going to play hob with the business model of Cisco UCS's special memory extender ASIC. Hopefully it will come to mainstream server vendors. There are some applications where the current DIMMs are either not capacious or fast enough.
I've got some of these running.....
And they do exactly what it says on the tin. Bulked out my memory from 192GB to 288GB and got a speed boost too.
Clever tech, well executed.
especially support from Tyan and Supermicro is a big deal. This memory capacity is nothing to grumble about. As I remember there is a bit of added latency though?
Great followup article to your earlier article (from 2009) on Netlist's HyperCloud IP and Planar-X IP.
You have touched on the 32GB using Planar-X and the intersection with DDR4.
However one aspect not covered is the immediate impact this will have on LRDIMMs and the arrival of Romley around Feb 2012. Netlist has been talking about latency issues with LRDIMM and this has been confirmed by the IDF conference on LRDIMMs posted on Inphi's LRDIMM blog main webpage:
Inphi is the only supplier of LRDIMM buffer chipsets - IDTI has been deemphasizing it over the course of a few conference calls, and TXN (Texas Instruments) is "not interested" (according to an earlier IDTI conference call) - possibly related to earlier settlement in NLST vs. TXN. Rich Kugele at Needham has also commented in NLST Q3 2011 CC that IDTI and TXN seem to have exited this space.
This means that for the qualification window for Romley in 2012 there will be ONLY NLST HyperCloud and LRDIMMs available (for the high memory loaded server applications). The time to reengineer and qualify can be years for a new design.
This places HyperCloud in a very favorable position for Romley - the market for high memory loaded servers is estimated to be 20% of Romley servers. NLST has only talked about 1% of that market. However given the latency issues with LRDIMMs, this 1% estimate may be conservative.
LRDIMMs have a "5 ns latency penalty" compared to RDIMMs.
And CSCO UCS has a "6 ns latency penalty" compared to RDIMMs (CSCO UCS uses an ASIC-on-motherboard approach - as you covered in your original article on NLST).
NLST HyperCloud has NO latency penalty c.f. RDIMMs it seems (from my understanding).
RDIMMs have a 1 cycle penalty compared to UDIMMs.
For more on this, checkout the NLST yahoo board:
Re: Let the truth be revealed on IPHI CC .. CSCO UCS and LRDIMMs 7-Nov-11 10:29 pm
Re: NLST 16GB HyperCloud price dropped to $791 9-Nov-11 12:21 pm
Sorry for the long links - here are shortened versions of those two links above:
LRDIMM not targeting below 32GB
Another point to mention is that LRDIMMs will NOT be sold below 32GB LRDIMM sizes.
This is because (listen to the IDF conference on LRDIMMs on Inphi blog main webpage) HP/Samsung will not be pushing 16GB LRDIMMs - because they underperform the new 16GB RDIMMs that are 2-rank (use 4Gbit DRAM dies).
And will focus on the 32GB LRDIMMs - which outperform the 32GB RDIMMs (which will continue to be 4-rank until availability of 8Gbit DRAM dies a few years later).
For this reason HP/Samsung suggested they would target 32GB LRDIMM market only.
Since even these 16GB 2-rank RDIMMs (based on 4Gbit DRAM dies) experience slowdown - they run at:
1 DPC @ 1333MHz
2 DPC @ 1333MHz
3 DPC @ 800MHz
There will essentially be no competitor for NLST HyperCloud - which can deliver:
1 DPC @ 1333MHz
2 DPC @ 1333MHz
3 DPC @ 1333MHz
For the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB HyperCloud sizes.
In addition, it seems LRDIMMs cannot deliver 768GB @ 1333MHz - but instead do 768GB @ 1066MHz (see the link below) - which is worse than the NLST performance of 768GB @ 1333MHz.
Compare Inphi LRDIMM presentation:
vs. NLST presentation:
For an explanation of these issues see this thread - which discusses this performance shortfall as well as LRDIMM absence from the below-32GB space:
Re: NLST vs IPHI 10-Dec-11 08:00 pm
Re: NLST vs IPHI .. 32GB LRDIMM speed slowdown 11-Dec-11 12:10 am
Re: NLST vs IPHI .. LRDIMM no-show at 16GB, 8GB 11-Dec-11 12:35 am
LRDIMM summary and differentiators
The main differentiators between LRDIMMs and NLST HyperCloud are:
- LRDIMMs have latency issues - HyperCloud does not
- LRDIMMs require a BIOS update - HyperCloud does not
- LRDIMMs don't work with other memory - HyperCloud is interoperable with other memory
- LRDIMMs won't be sold at 8GB, 16GB sizes (only 32GB) because they underperform 16GB RDIMMs 2-rank (based on 4Gbit DRAM dies) because of those latency issues and the only RDIMMs they can outperform are the 32GB RDIMMs 4-rank (since 2-rank ones can't be made until 8Gbit DRAM dies arrive "2.5 years to infinity" (NLST Craig-Hallum conference) in the future (LRDIMMs essentially won't compete at the 8GB, 16GB sizes even though "load reduction" and "rank multiplication" are required even at those sizes - since lower density modules are cheaper to make than higher density ones)
- NLST has said they can make 32GB HyperCloud memory modules using 2Gbit DRAM dies (as opposed to 4Gbit DRAM dies for the rest of the industry), and therefore by extension a 64GB HyperCloud using current 4Gbit DRAM dies (newer Planar-X can use up to 4 PCBs instead of the current 2 PCB Planar-X)
Some confirmation on NLST vs. LRDIMM - this is the first official PR from NLST on a direct comparison with LRDIMMs (previously NLST has been suggesting in conference calls that LRDIMMs may have "latency issues" etc.).
As Romley rollout approaches we may see more direct comparisons as more info on LRDIMMs becomes known - and LRDIMM product starts reaching people for direct comparison:
Netlist's HyperCloud Technology Faster Than LRDIMM on Next Generation Servers: Testing Validates the Speed Advantage of HyperCloud
Patented HyperCloud Technology Enables 1333 MT/s Memory Speeds on Future Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5 Family Based Two-Processor Servers While LRDIMM Only Enables 1066 MT/s
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