Samsung Elec campaigns for migration to low-power memory to back green growth

2020.07.30 13:55:11 | 2020.07.30 13:55:42

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]

Samsung Electronics has unveiled a vision for eco-friendly memory semiconductor technology that meets the low-carbon economy, a core task of Green New Deal recently announced by the Korean government.

In a contribution to the company’s Newsroom on Wednesday, titled Envisioning a Sustainable Future with Energy-Efficient Memory Technology, Choi Cheol, Corporate Executive Vice President and Head of Memory Global Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics, said using low-power memory chips can significantly reduce power consumption worldwide.

Replacing HDDs with SSDs in all data center servers released in 2020 and upgrading server DRAM from DDR4 to new DDR5 can be translated into saving 7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy per year, which is equal to electricity from 2.5 coal-fired power plants, he said.

Citing a report from an international environmental organization, Choi said the energy sector is responsible for 72.1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and the value of energy-efficient memory chips will increase over the years.

The following is the full text of the editorial.

[Editorial] Envisioning a Sustainable Future with Energy-Efficient Memory Technology

163 zettabytes (ZB) is the amount of data expected to be generated worldwide by 2025, according to market research firm IDC. Within the span of just a decade, data produced by humankind will see a tenfold increase, which means we will see more data created in the next couple of years than has been accumulated over the past decades.

As more and more data is collected, we are able to access the information we want and enjoy high-quality content anytime, anywhere. Advancements in 5G, AI and 8K technologies, in particular, are further enriching people’s lives, resulting in the generation of a colossal amount of data on a daily basis.

Energy-Efficient DRAM and SSD

Most electronic data is stored in data centers which are often called “archives of human knowledge”. Data centers consist of a massive network of servers and are the epitome of cutting-edge information technology. The operation of data centers, naturally, requires a massive amount of electricity, and this is where the potential for the future of energy-efficient memory technology lies.

HDD or SSD is where data actually gets stored on servers. SSD is a NAND flash memory-based storage device and it delivers higher performance than disk-based HDD while using 50% less energy. With recent developments in technologies, DRAM needed for computing has also been optimized to perform better and consume less electricity.

Replacing HDDs with SSDs across all data center servers released in 2020 can be translated into saving 3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy per year. Upgrading server DRAM from DDR4 to the new DDR5 has the effect of saving 1TWh. These power savings amount to 4TWh, which is large enough to light all the street lights in Korea for an entire year, or power all homes in the country for a month.

Furthermore, additional electricity is required to cool down the tens of thousands of servers hard at work. That is why many data centers are located in Finland, Sweden or Ireland, to give them access to the cooler air and sea water needed for cooling. The less energy used in data center operation by adopting more SSDs and DDR5, the less heat generated, which ultimately leads to less electricity being needed for the cooling process. A total of 3TWh of electricity can be saved per year by following this process. A combined energy saving of 7TWh is enough electricity to replace 2.5 coal-fired power plants. The growing demand for servers driven by rapid growth in data and continued semiconductor innovation are placing a heightened importance on energy-efficient memory solutions.

By Chun Gyung-woon and Minu Kim

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