LPDDR5X: Memory Performance That Pushes the Limits of What’s Possible

Micron Technology | February 2022

In the nearly 30 years I’ve worked in the semiconductor industry, one of the most exciting things for me is to see how memory and storage innovation has transformed the user experience. By leading Micron’s Mobile Business Unit, I have experienced this innovation firsthand with Micron’s recent LPDDR5X DRAM launch announcement.

Advancements in mobile low-power double data rate (LPDDR) DRAM technology provide the data foundation that helps enable the features and applications in the smartphones we carry with us every waking moment of our day. Innovation in the smartphone memory and storage subsystem combined with the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered applications and faster 5G networks are bringing new, unique user experiences that are transforming what’s possible today and in the future.

Low-power DRAM innovation supports high-bandwidth user experiences

Each new generation of mobile memory has unleashed the potential for more powerful and efficient mobile experiences. Thinking back to 2012 when JEDEC first released the specification for LPDDR3 memory, who could have predicted that our phones’ GPS sensor would make turn-by-turn navigation such a natural part of our daily driving experiences? That one feature alone provided a foundation to help launch entire industries for ride-sharing and home-delivery services, which have changed the game for what’s possible in the transportation and dining industries and made our lives a little bit easier.

Fast forwarding to as recently as 2020, LPDDR5 DRAM brought even more memory performance to 5G-enabled smartphones, increasing the memory bandwidth necessary to feed massive amounts of data to AI engines and process data fast enough to reduce data bottlenecks. More memory bandwidth contributed to seamless 4K video livestreaming, advanced mobile gaming and AI-powered computational imaging on your smartphone.

LPDDR5X builds on that performance foundation and will unleash more AI- and 5G-powered features in devices across all segments.

LPDDR5X performance and power efficiency unlock future capabilities

We see smartphone manufacturers and chipset vendors bringing to life more efficient and powerful capabilities built on LPDDR5X performance. Micron LPDDR5X supports data rates up to 8.533 Gbps1 — up to 33% faster performance2 than previous-generation LPDDR5 — making it the world’s fastest mobile memory. LPDDR5X also delivers up to 24% more power efficiency than previous-generation LPDDR5 memory3 allowing users to create, share and enjoy their mobile experiences longer between daily charging.

LP5X Gbps Data Transfer Rates Graph Chart Image Data transfer rate for each generation of LPDDR DRAM4

Life’s most precious moments come to life in Micron memory

LPDDR5X performance helps unlock the untapped potential of what’s possible with computational imaging. Thirty-three percent more bandwidth enables the AI engines in systems on chips (SoCs) to access photos and video faster, making possible faster shoot speeds and simultaneous video feeds from multiple cameras.

This increased bandwidth will enhance camera features that have become ubiquitous across all levels of smartphones — from budget to flagship. Imagine capturing life’s most precious moments but with substantially improved features compared to today’s smartphones — larger image sensors, more cameras and new computational imaging features that helps you take professional-like photos and videos. LPDDR5X performance also helps achieve an up to 50% increase in night-mode resolution for crisper, clearer photos and shoot speeds up to 35%5 faster.

In addition, LPDDR5X enables bringing features like portrait and low-light modes to video, giving you the ability to shoot high-definition video as stunning as your photographs — even in low-light conditions.

Personalized smartphone experiences are as unique as you are

AI combined with machine learning (ML) will continue to expand the possibilities of what our smartphones can learn from our daily routines and preferences. Through this learning, our smartphones will become more personalized to improve our user experience and streamline our lives. This ability to understand the user, situation or different environmental variables is called contextual awareness.

Through contextual awareness, the massive amount of data that is generated and consumed on your smartphone and ingested through your various smart devices is collected and processed within your smartphone’s powerful AI engines. Predictive insights are curated just for us based on how we uniquely use our smartphones in our daily lives: As a result, our smartphones become smarter, more intuitive and more predictive. As your browsing, viewing and other behaviors differ from mine, your smartphone will behave differently, create personalized recommendations and take actions based on what it has learned about you.

Imagine the possibilities of your day powered by contextual awareness. Your smartphone has access to your calendar and the first appointment for the day. With this context, it could recommend a wake time for the day, schedule your smart coffee machine to make your preferred brew at the exact time you walk into the kitchen, have your smart speaker play your favorite podcast or morning playlist — all proactively through no action on your part. From there, you could receive a notification that it’s time to begin your commute to the office. Your smartphone could command your car to power on, pull up to your driveway and take you to the office by the most efficient route. It could learn this route by communicating with other cars’ cameras and traffic lights via cellular vehicle-to-anything (C-V2X) communication. Once you’re in your vehicle, cameras and sensors in your smartphone could monitor your mood and play your preferred music, podcast or news. LPDDR5X mobile memory can help provide the performance and efficiency to take this personalization to the next level.

Lack of imagination is the only bottleneck to unprecedented smartphone innovation

It’s an exciting time for innovation in the mobile ecosystem. I’m looking forward to not only what we can predict, but also what is yet to be imagined. The new AI and 5G features unlocked by LPDDR5X performance and power efficiency will be made possible through constant collaboration and innovation across all facets of the mobile ecosystem — from the carriers building and investing in infrastructure to the OEMs creating devices that can harness the power of this new bandwidth and across the entire semiconductor industry. All these contributors, who must push the boundaries of each individual component, play critical roles in unlocking the full potential of AI and 5G. Micron’s leading memory and storage technology provides the foundation for us to redefine the future of smartphone experiences. With this technology, we’re ushering in an era where the only bottleneck to unprecedented innovation is our own imagination.

1. Data rate based on published JEDEC specifications.
2. Comparing peak data rates for LPDDR5X (8.533 Gbps) to previous-generation LPDDR5 (6.4 Gbps) DRAM based on published JEDEC specifications (8.533/6.4 = 1.33).
3. Simulated power improvement comparing full LPDDR5X speed (8533 Mbps) to previous-generation LPDDR5 (6400 Mbps).
4. Data transfer rates based on JEDEC specifications:
5. Simulated increase based on measured phone data running LPDDR5 at 5500Mbps and 6400Mbps with projection at 8533 Mbps speeds.