Inphi Unveils Technology To Boosts Server Memory Capacity

iMB technology enables OEMs to deliver 384 Gigabytes for a 2-processor system for cloud computing and server virtualization.

June 2, 2009

3 Min Read
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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF., JUNE 1, 2009 -- Inphi Corporation, a fabless semiconductor company delivering high-performance analog solutions enabling cloud computing, server virtualization and broadband connectivity, today announced a new technology that can quadruple memory capacity in servers and workstations at DDR3-2133 rates and beyond. Inphi's technology will enable the world's highest capacity memory-per-channel at the highest data transfer frequency. The enabling component of the technology is Inphi's isolation memory buffer (iMB), which will reside electrically on a server DIMM between the memory controller and the DRAM, allowing it to buffer the data lines, as well as command, address and control lines.

"Contemporary multicore processors have a voracious appetite for memory capacity, but board layout and signal integrity issues limit the number of DIMMs on most two-socket server motherboards," observed Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. "Buffer-on-Board (BoB) approaches address signal integrity, but finding space and routing signals to all those DIMMs remains a tough problem. Inphi's iMB provides a clever and cost-effective solution that allows the latest Xeon servers to accommodate four times as many DRAM components in the same DIMM sockets designed for ordinary registered DIMMs. Users who feel hemmed in by the current 96 GB per socket constraint of Intel's Xeon 5500 series should love this way to grow their memories to384 GB."

With the advent of virtualization, multicore and multiprocessor systems, servers can attain improved utilization levels. However, there is a gap in the amount of memory capacity available to feed this improved utilization and Inphi's new iMB technology will significantly narrow this gap. Until this technology is commercially available, the only option for designers is to expand memory capacity by using more expensive higher density DRAM components.

"With the adoption of virtualization, power consumption and memory density become key issues for scaling data centers," said Young Sohn, president and CEO of Inphi Corporation. "With iMB technology, Inphi will provide OEM customers a lower power, and lower latency alternative to scaling memory capacity, while still being cost effective. Adoption of this technology will further enable server virtualization and cloud computing."Inphi's iMB technology delivers an optimal balance of capacity, power, cost, latency and is used in conjunction with DDR3 DRAMs, while extendable to DDR4.

The benefits of the iMB technology are:-- Increased capacity by enabling up to 384 GB of mainstream DRAMs integrated into standard-sized DIMMs without the need for hardware changes. The iMB chip will transparently make multiple ranks of DRAMs look like a single rank of DRAM to the memory controller.-- Compared to a BoB approach, iMB is a cost effective single chip solution that fits on both low profile DIMMs and very low profile DIMMs.-- Improved receiver sensitivity, equalized transmitter buffers and reduced load on the data bus ensure this technology is extensible to data transfer rates of 2133 Mega Transfers per Second (MT/s) compared to today's top rate of 1333 MT/s.Inphi is currently manufacturing prototypes of the iMB and expects to deliver engineering samples to OEMs beginning in the summer of 2009. These activities will pave the way for productizing the iMB in the second half of 2009 as well as a plan to support standardization of the iMB technology in the JEDEC standards organization.

About Inphi Corporation

Inphi Corporation is an industry leader in the innovation of high-performance analog components that serve a broad set of markets and applications including communications, computing and networking. Leading corporations rely on Inphi for components that transport, store, deliver, and test high-speed data for the world's most innovative systems. Inphi is recognized as a global technology leader for its excellence in design, dedication to the development of open standards, and commitment to R&D. Learn more about Inphi Corporation by visiting, or call +1-805-446-5100.

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