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Micron Technology, a leading manufacturer of dynamic random access memory and NAND flash memory, has announced its collaboration with Broadcom Corp. to develop the industry's first solution designed for customers challenged by an intrinsic DDR3 timing parameter called tFAW, or four activate window.

tFAW refers to a DDR3 timing parameter that restricts data throughput in server, storage and networking applications and can compromise bandwidth by 15% to 35%. With every new DRAM generation, the access granularity is becoming double, causing some timing parameters like tRDD and tFAW to restrict data throughput. This creates challenges for high-performance applications because no more than four bank activate commands can be issued in any given tFAW period.

"The search for improved performance among network providers remains a challenge in the midst of continuous data overload. Architecture solutions that can open up bandwidth for high-performance applications will serve to extend operational efficiencies and boost overall network performance," said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst of DRAM and memory at IHS iSuppli.

The Micron solution validated by Broadcom reduces the tFAW value from 35ns to 30ns for a 2KB page size, DDR3-2133, improving operations per second by 18%. This performance increase is especially critical for complex packet processing functions, such as highly scalable IPv4 and IPv6 lookups used in service provider networking applications. The four activate window solution enables Broadcom's BCM88030 200 Gb/s NPU to achieve extremely scalable L2, IPv4 and IPv6 lookup capacities at wire speed performance using Micron's DDR3 memory.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, global IP traffic is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% from 2012 to 2017.

To satisfy this overwhelming appetite for bandwidth, service providers around the globe are racing to transform their networks by adopting higher-bandwidth links.

"OEMs today continue to tackle the challenge of an ever-increasing volume, velocity and variety of data. We are delighted to be working with Broadcom to validate a solution that helps alleviate the throughput challenge for our mutual customers,” said Robert Feurle, vice president of DRAM marketing at Micron.

Micron's 2Gb and 4Gb DDR3 with the reduced tFAW timing specification are available in volume production now.

"Broadcom is committed to delivering the high-bandwidth capacity and scale to meet the aggressive requirements of next-generation networks. Through our collaboration with Micron, we continue our efforts to provide the most scalable NPU solutions in the industry," said Dan Harding, senior director of product marketing, compute and connectivity at Broadcom.

Tags: Micron, Broadcom, DDR3, DRAM

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