SMART Modular Technologies introduces CXL Add-in Cards, Revolutionizing Memory Expansion

April 24, 2024 by our News Team

SMART Modular Technologies has released a new family of Add-In Cards that integrate the CXL standard and support DDR5 DIMMs, providing high-density memory solutions for server and data center architects, with projected rapid growth and significant impact on memory deployment in the coming years.

  • First of its kind to adopt the CXL protocol, offering high-density DIMM solutions for server and data center architects.
  • Addresses the growing demand for CXL memory components in data center applications, projected to reach $2 billion by 2026.
  • Utilizes advanced CXL controllers to eliminate memory bandwidth bottlenecks and capacity constraints in compute-intensive workloads.

SMART Modular Technologies, a division of SGH and a global leader in memory solutions, has launched its latest family of Add-In Cards (AICs) that integrate the Compute Express Link (CXL) standard while also supporting industry standard DDR5 DIMMs. These innovative AICs are the first of their kind to adopt the CXL protocol, offering high-density DIMM solutions for server and data center architects.

The demand for CXL memory components in data center applications is projected to experience rapid growth, with production shipments expected to begin in late 2024 and surpass the $2 billion mark by 2026. Industry experts, such as Mike Howard, vice president of DRAM and memory markets at TechInsights, believe that CXL attach rates in the server market will eventually reach 30%, encompassing both expansion and pooling use cases. This highlights the significance of the CXL protocol in achieving industry standard memory disaggregation and sharing, which will greatly enhance memory deployment in the coming years, according to Andy Mills, senior director of advanced product development at SMART Modular.

SMART’s 4-DIMM and 8-DIMM AICs leverage advanced CXL controllers to eliminate memory bandwidth bottlenecks and capacity constraints commonly encountered in compute-intensive workloads like Artificial Intelligence (AI), high performance computing (HPC), and Machine Learning (ML). These emerging applications demand larger amounts of high-speed memory that surpass the capabilities of current servers. As attempts to expand memory through traditional DIMM-based parallel bus interfaces face limitations due to CPU pin constraints, the industry is turning to more pin-efficient CXL-based solutions.

Here are the technical specifications of SMART’s 4-DIMM and 8-DIMM DDR5 AICs:

– Available in type 3 PCIe Gen 5 Full Height, Half Length (FHHL) PCIe form factor.
– The 4-DIMM AIC (CXA-4F1W) supports up to four DDR5 RDIMMs with a maximum memory capacity of 2 TB when using 512 GB RDIMMs. On the other hand, the 8-DIMM AIC (CXA-8F2W) can accommodate eight DDR5 RDIMMs with a maximum memory capacity of 4 TB.
– The 4-DIMM AIC utilizes a single CXL controller with one x16 CXL port, while the 8-DIMM AIC employs two CXL controllers to implement two x8 ports, resulting in a total bandwidth of 64 GB/s.
– The CXL controllers offer support for “Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability” (RAS) features and advanced analytics.
– Enhanced security features are provided, including in-band or side band (SMBus) monitoring capability.
– These add-in cards are compatible with SMART’s Zefr ZDIMMs to accelerate memory processing.

Furthermore, CXL enables cost-effective scaling of memory capacity. By utilizing SMART’s AICs, servers can reach up to 1 TB of memory per CPU using affordable 64 GB RDIMMs. Additionally, these AICs offer flexibility in the supply chain. Depending on market conditions, replacing high-density RDIMMs with a greater number of lower density modules can lead to lower system memory costs.

For more information on SMART’s 4-DIMM and 8-DIMM AICs, visit their respective product pages. You can also explore SMART’s other products that utilize the CXL standard on their CMM/CXL family page. SMART is ready to provide samples to OEMs upon request. These new CXL-based AICs, along with SMART’s ZDIMM line of DRAM, serve as ideal solutions for demanding memory design-in applications.

SMART Modular Technologies introduces CXL Add-in Cards, Revolutionizing Memory Expansion

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Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

DDR5: DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) is the next generation of memory technology for the computer industry. It is a modern day improvement on earlier DDR technologies, with faster speeds, greater bandwidth and higher capacities. DDR5 enables higher resolution, seamless gaming experiences and faster data transfer rates, making it an ideal choice for high-performance computing and 4K gaming. With its greater RAM compatibility, DDR5 provides faster buffering times and raised clock speeds, giving users an improved overall work system. DDR5 is also optimized for multi-tasking, allowing users to multitask without experiencing a significant drop in performance, increasing the productivity of digital tasks. As an ever-evolving technology, DDR5 is paving the way for the computer industry into a new and powerful era.

HPC: HPC, or High Performance Computing, is a type of technology that allows computers to perform complex calculations and process large amounts of data at incredibly high speeds. This is achieved through the use of specialized hardware and software, such as supercomputers and parallel processing techniques. In the computer industry, HPC has a wide range of applications, from weather forecasting and scientific research to financial modeling and artificial intelligence. It enables researchers and businesses to tackle complex problems and analyze vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional computing methods. HPC has revolutionized the way we approach data analysis and has opened up new possibilities for innovation and discovery in various fields.

PCIe: PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard for connecting components such as graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards to a motherboard. It is the most widely used interface in the computer industry today, and is used in both desktop and laptop computers. PCIe is capable of providing up to 16 times the bandwidth of the older PCI standard, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and improved performance. It is also used in a variety of other applications, such as storage, networking, and communications. PCIe is an essential component of modern computing, and its applications are only expected to grow in the future.

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