Samsung switches to LPDDR4 and UFS 2.0 memory, but what does it mean?

by: Robert TriggsMarch 6, 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Colors-6

Earlier this week we took a look at Samsung’s new Exynos 7420 SoC, which is just one of the new technologies squeezed into the Galaxy S6. Samsung is also leading the way with faster LPDDR4 RAM memory and internal memory designed with the new UFS 2.0 standard.

UFS 2.0 internal memory replaces the common eMMC 5.0 / 5.1 standard found in most last generation handsets. We already covered the technology last week, and essentially it is designed for faster reading and writing from internal storage, allows for simultaneous read/write processes, and prioritizes incoming commands to execute them as quickly as possible.

emmc ufs memory

Although flash memory doesn’t particularly mind how data is arranged, sequential read and write speeds can be important when dealing with large file sizes. Particularly when it comes to large HD video, lossless audio or game assets, which are usually stored neatly in large sequential chunks of data on the hard drive. But rather than relying purely on Samsung’s speed numbers, a newly published AndroBench comparison gives us a closer look at what the standard is capable of compared with last generation handsets.

However, benchmarks don’t necessarily represent real world performance and you’re not going to notice these speed differences in day to day tasks. But when it comes to particularly media heavy reading or writing of data, UFS 2.0 is clearly a cut above eMMC 5.0.

New LPDDR4 RAM is the other half of Samsung’s latest memory arrangement, which is a successor to commonplace LPDDR3. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC also features LPDRR4 memory.

Rather than storing large, permanent files, RAM is temporary memory used by applications and the operating system for whatever needs processing. LPDDR4 can offer up to a 50 percent performance boost than LPDDR3, depending on the implementation. The aim of the game here is increased memory bandwidth, which allows for faster communication between the RAM memory and the handset’s processors.

This is particularly important when it comes to memory intensive applications. Again we’re looking at media centric scenarios, where large chunks of data have to be moved around with minimal delay. One example is slow-motion video, where 120 image frames have to be stored in RAM memory each second. At 2K or 4K resolutions, that’s a lot of data to be pushing around, and additional bandwidth is very important in these types of applications. Gaming is also a potential benefactor here, as mobile GPUs have to pull resources from the main memory pool. Bandwidth requirements increase greatly at larger display resolutions.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 LPDDR4 has a 1552MHz clock speed. Assuming the standard dual-channel 32-bit design as previous Exynos chips, this gives us a bandwidth of 24.8GB/s. For comparison, the Snapdragon 810 offers a similar bandwidth, while the older LPDDR3 in the Snapdragon 801 has a bandwidth of 12.8GB/s and the Exynos 5433 offers 13.2GB/s.


However, these are just upper limits and real world results rarely sustain this bandwidth. There also is not a direct one-to-one relationship between bandwidth and performance. Our own AnTuTu test shows a decent performance gain, but not the suggested 50 percent boost. Like UFS 2.0, you’re only likely to notice this improvement in some specific scenarios.

On top of a speed boost, LPDDR4 lowers the memory’s core voltage to 1.1 volts, down from 1.2 volts, and implements low voltage swing logic at 0.4 volts. This aims to help save on energy consumption, which is especially important in battery powered smartphones, given how often the memory is accessed.

In summary, the move to LPDDR4 and UFS 2.0 are complementary improvements to system memory, which will prove particularly useful when it comes to high resolution media playback and capture, gaming, and larger file transfers and downloads. The change here is just one of the many improvements introduced in the Samsung Galaxy S6 that should (hopefully) lead to an overall superior experience when compared to Galaxy handsets of the past.

  • Why didn’t Samsung promote this more fiercely than that design, that some people say it resembles the iPhone? This is the real revolution inside the S6 and the S6 Edge (assuming that the S6 Edge got the same SoC as the S6). This is a game changer.

    • JK

      I agree that it is a game changer (thats coming from a Sammy-hater). The numbers being released is outstanding and just cant be dogged by anyone who is truly being honest. I do, however, think the S6 looks REALLY similar to the iPhone 6. even to the drilled out holes on the bottom. Its a VERY pretty phone none-the-less. But to say it does not look like such?? that is not being honest.

      • I only like the Note, I never owned a Galaxy S because of the whole Sammy ecosystem, only the Note would make me bite it. I am just tired of the “Samsung copied the iPhone again”. There are a lot more phones that have holes like the iPhone has. We should go beyond that now. We must acknowledge that there is little room for new ideas now.

        • JK

          very strong point….agreed. you’re right, there is little room to innovate on design. I love the Note 4 and would love to see what they come out with on the Note 5. Just crossing my fingers it will cost a lot.

          • You can only appreciate a Note only when you see it for yourself. I have a friend that had the first Note, then the Note 2, now the Note 4. It is a beauty indeed, it would make me even forget it is a large phone (I consider the 5 inches to be the ideal size for now).

          • JK

            after going to my Nexus 6, I dont think I can go back under 5.96 inches. I’m really hoping the Note 5 stays the course with the same size, reduces the bezels, puts out the specs listed above and puts front stereo speakers on it….that would most likely be my next purchase.

    • ccsvchost

      Because marketing is directed as consumers as a whole and your average consumer won’t give half a flap about the type of RAM or memory is in their phone. Also, bringing up memory into marketing will only highlight the fact that the S6 lacks a memory card slot which is a disadvantage to many.

      • If I were a marketing director, I’d insist on these new pieces of hardware and make a joke about “we though you won’t need an SD card with such a good internal memory”.

    • Anonymousfella

      Same SoC, Camera,RAM, Memory modules etc. Only screen(obviously) and battery size are different

      • Read Fool

        WRONG! Read the article. New SoC, new camera, new RAM, new memory, screen, and battery.

        • Anonymousfella

          Did you even read my comment and try to understand the context? I was talking about the difference between S6 and S6 edge

    • Wjdzm

      Yes, you are absolutely correct. But the majority of the audience don’t care about that. They only care about what they see. So people like you and me actually understand why their new device is actually revolutionary other than the design…. granted their design is quite lovely.

    • kodn

      If people actually understood specs, they won’t be buying iPhones. People see the design which has been the weakness of Samsung flagships for years. Now, they have remedied that in an extraordinary fashion, and they plan to advertise their phone that way. :D

      • I agree with you, but specs are not everything and specs can translate into something palpable, that can be advertised. iPhones are already proof that specs only matter if you use them properly. I would love to see a commercial from Samsung that doesn’t mock Apple and changes its focus on anything than design.

        • iKrontologist

          Now Apple is knocking Android in commercials. I suppose that’s OK though with you and every other iDiot, who thinks Samsung somehow copied Note 4 speaker and port layout on bottom from Apple preemptively! lol…. Which is exactly what Samsung did. Mind you these designs are always set at least a year in advance. Making virtually impossible for Samsung to Copy iPhone 6 and very possible for Apple to copy Galaxy Note 3. Which was the first Samsung phone to place the speaker on the bottom!!! ……coincidence maybe…… for Apple, but World sees everything through “I Bleed 6 Colors for Apple” rosey jerking palms and colored glasses!!!

          btw…. Samsung did move from slotted speaker grill on plastic frame to hole arrangement on Note 4 metal frame. But placement nor holes or slots can be patented, copyrighted or in a design patent only for looks!!! So…. arrogant Apple Holic crying foul’s argument is ludicrous at best!!! ……and if not why not goad Samsung on to sue over Apple moving Power button to right side just like all Samsung Galaxy Phones have always been???

  • JK

    impressive numbers….still think its priced way too high but I’m starting to understand just WHY they are charging this much. I’ve love to see the breakdown of assembly costs. I’m guessing around the $300 range?? The s5 was like $250 or so, right?

    • Wjdzm

      I don’t understand why people say S6 price is too high. iPhone 6 starts at $650 w/ 16GB whereas GS6 starts at $700 with 32GB. Why are people screaming about this $50?

      • JK

        um because we all think iPhone is priced too high too….I’m not sure why you could compare the two?? I think my Nexus is priced way too high also but i bought it. Has no bearing on the direction or stance I take with opinions on pricing….especially after looking at the manufacturing costs. Iphone 6 costs just over $200 to make….then they sell it for $650. So yeah, there is that.

        • Wjdzm

          Well if you are saying “premium” phones’ pricing is just too high to begin with… i’m with you. But all I am saying is that S6 is “relatively” equal to other (iPhone) competitor(s).

          • JK

            the first part is what i’m saying. they are priced too high to begin with. I think these phones should be at or around the 5-600 range given the cost to manufacture. to compare sammy and iphone is getting old, the phones already look alike. now people think its ok for them to be priced similar or higher? its crazy what they are conditioning you for. =

  • I like what Samsung is doing with their phone’s internal organs. They should shout more about those goodies more too.

    I’m impressed

    • JK

      kind of agree….lets see some bragging here! -=)

    • KK

      I just hate it that all the energy savings is cancel out by putting in a QHD screen. But i am interested to hear about the real life battery life though.

      • Bambang Hermanto

        I actually brought this issue up with a friend regarding an ideal smartphone specs. Clearly many people have given too much hype on crazy size screen resolution on a smartphone. They should be more realistic. For a phone with screen size lower than 6″, FullHD is already more than enough IMO.

        • iKrontologist

          Here’s the reality for you on why Samsung chose QHD; They’ve added Gear VR to their arsenal of unmatched features from any competition. You actually need 4K for best 3D VR Experience to be the best it can be. But that’s still not the reason, they went with QHD. Samsung’s YOUM screens are being produced on latest generation fabrication lines. Which have been planned years in advance to be the highest resolution possible.

          So they would be going backwards to now outdated fabrication technology, instead of forward. The equipment is only capable of putting a set resolution on this generation of YOUM screen technology. They can only go forward with plans in the works several years in advance. And….. most of all why put all that fastest Exynos horsepower, fastest memory, fastest ram, etc into a phone with a screen dumped down to Apple’s highest best screen in iPhone 6+ on a smaller screen? Asinine assumptions that common consumers know better and more than Samsung does on how to run their business!!!

  • Marty

    “Samsung switches to LPDDR4 and UFS 2.0 memory, but what does it mean?”

    Knowing Samsung, probably nothing good for users and everything good for Sammy’s bottom line.

    • Syukri Lajin

      nothing good for users? lol……..

    • JK

      well nothing good for users makes no sense but it always has to be about the bottom line or companies would go out of business. those numbers up top make this phone future proof for a good 2 years.

      • Marty

        Faulty thinking. Put customers first instead of money and you’ll have both. I realize this is alien and counter to a bean counter’s thinking (not talking about you), but this should be the goal of all businesses. They’d spend a whole lot less on marketing and other costs too.

        • JK

          hey I agree. but all businesses are in business to….make money. the more money you make, the better they are. doesnt make them less evil or stupid to an extent. but if BB or Nokia sold phones like the 1+1, they would go from a blip on the map like they are now, to non existent for not gaining capital for the downward spiral that all companies are going to face. to go further (I hate Samsung) but how did they not put the customers first? they created a device with specs that are unrivaled at the moment and created a device with great build quality. It seems as though they put money AND customers first. when you run a business, you should focus on both or you will falter.

    • MetsuMorgoth

      Did you read the article? Or just complain?

      • Marty

        Are you saying Samsung’s not above lying? If so, a cheated benchmark begs to differ.

        • MetsuMorgoth

          lol, you didn’t read.. can’t argue. Keep on hating XD!!

          • Marty

            Jeeeze…again…is Samsung above lying or not? Focus, you’ll get it. ;)

          • MetsuMorgoth

            Ahhhh Marty!!! you post a lot of crap on almost every S6 article!!! Nah, keep on trollin’ dude!!! ;)

          • Marty

            Okay, well…if you aren’t going to answer my question and have nothing suitable to say, I’m going to ignore you.

          • Wjdzm

            Wtf are you saying?
            “is Samsung above lying or not?”

          • MetsuMorgoth

            Don’t feed the troll, or he’ll just ignore you… XD!!

          • Marty

            Don’t answer. Shows who your allegiances are.

          • Marty

            Remember the Galaxy S5 benchmark cheat? Samsung will never live that down. Samsung was basically lying through their teeth about the performance of the GS5. MetsuMorgoth will try to find a way to excuse it, though, watch…

    • John Kar

      All flagships this year will use Samsung’s LPDDR4 RAM. What the hell are you talking about?

      • abhish3k

        @metsumorgoth:disqus @Wjdzm:disqus I want to share some wisdom with you…

        • Guest

          You should see some of my other Disqus comments. Too bad you aren’t allowed.

        • Marty

          Here’s the whole story.

      • Marty

        My point exactly.

  • Syukri Lajin

    you _WILL_ notice the higher bandwidth of ufs 2.0 and ddr4. especially with art since everything will be precompiled and are bound more to storage speed rather than the cpu. also, software are bigger with art, faster storage = faster loading. and since most of the time, the slowest component of a phone is the storage, i’m sure you will benefit from the change 90% of the time(while switching apps, closing or opening apps, scrolling through web pages on a browser etc). most of our daily tasks rely on memory and storage bandwidth a lot more than the cpu.

  • Melvin Nacario

    Really, a game changer! Kudos Samsung! Yes, it’s so iPhone-ish, but how different this one is to an iPhone 6, that is the question! I’m so excited to see how well this kind of new technology that Samsung is boasting stands a drop test, benchmarks, and real-life usage vs an iPhone 6 or HTC’s M9, right Josh?

  • Wjdzm

    I vaguely remember reading something about Samsung having to down-clock for power saving and yet the performance is still unmatched by the “radiator” 810. Does anyone know about this or was it just a rumor?

    • iKrontologist

      Apparently Samsung has adopted Nvidia’s hardware upgradability with re-programmable features. Clock it lower now and deliver a faster performing firmware upgrade later! … Nvidia and Sony have done using the same chips on low end and high end hardware. Simply speed it up on low end or like Sony….. with PSP act like you’re overclocking it. When in all actuality they had only clocked up to it’s potential!

      For Samsung it’s a matter of staying loyal to a potential customer in Qualcomm and the fact they don’t have the fabrication capacity until they finish this new Mega Huge $20+ Billion Exynos Foundry. So Samsung is keeping on the good side of them as they’ve been a great supplier with their Snapdragon SoCs!

  • Paulo Fidalgo

    “A plugin is needed to display this content.” we are on the 21st century, please don’t use Flash. Using Firefox 36 on Fedora Linux

    • Dimitar Gospodinov

      Can’t play it on Chrome for android too.

      • Kishore Venktesh

        working on chrome for PC

    • Groud Frank

      I’m at work and on Ubuntu. I use Chrome and Vivaldi/Chromium as primary and secondary browsers on Ubuntu and Antergos. I’m not having any trouble on Firefox(on Ubuntu) but I think that is because I installed the restricted extra packages with flash. I’m guessing you fully subscribe to the FOSS philosophy and don’t want to use proprietary software for ethical reasons. There is Chromium but, as you know, it’s not in the official repo, it’s a pain and you’ll have the same issues unless you use pepper flash(which isn’t free software).

    • Dayum

      Works on firefox 36, pc!

    • [S]unjay

      I love Fedora and Arch.

  • Милен Стефанов

    120fps slow-motion video at 4K resolution- who wrote that shit?

  • galaxyNote4isBoss

    Talk about game changer the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be the best devices on the market for 2015 until the Galaxy Note 5 and Note Edge 2 throw in that new Galaxy Note Fold too.

    • R6ex

      Sadly, the Note 5 is just meh.

  • Wait the XPERIA Z4 and look the “speed”.

    • cptsoap

      Xperia Z4 will most probably have a Snapdragon 810 since Sony is not interested in making their on CPU. The phone may be very impressive in terms of design and other specs, but the prosessor and performance are pretty predictable. I own a Z2 and I wouldn’t buy a samsung or LG just because of the excessive software and android “enhancements”.

  • Karly Johnston

    Minor improvements, nothing you will notice. FPS in gaming on DDR3 at 800Mhz and 2400Mhz was unchanged. Load times with this read speed might have a millisecond difference. We are at the point of decreasing returns on mobile hardware when the software doesn’t take advantage of it.

  • Taha Yassine Wahbi

    This technologie is ruined by the lack of USB 3.0

    • Buk Lau

      dude, you realize that the biggest reason why no one is eager to use micro USB 3.0 is that it interferes with 2.4ghz wifi right? the use of micro usb 3.0 on the note 3 has proven to samsung that it’s a big mistake.

      • R6ex

        But nowadays, its all about 5GHz Wifi, right?

  • Pinpointer

    what’s all that writing on the back. I don’t mean Ssmsungs name but that stuff down the lower? It looks like there’s a garbage can with an x through it. Isn’t that the ‘battery’ information usually printed out of sight underneath the REMOVABLE BACK PANEL where it doesn’t look so ugly which removes the need for that stupid sim card access plastic junk port and allows for a micro-SDXC card and maybe even a removable battery?

    • sosarozay300

      fcc logos and stuff theyre on phones with no removable back covers

      • Pinpointer

        so another reason why non-removable backs on a Samsung Galaxy isn’t a nice idea.

  • crutchcorn

    This is exactly what I had thought it would be when watching the event and I was right! This is incredible!

  • Mohd Danial

    if Lg were to equip their next g4 with this hardware it will be a beast

  • _c0L0gN3

    RULE. That’s all.

  • Scott

    I work for Samsung, I luckily got to play with the handsets a week ago. Instead of flicking through the home screen and taking pictures we went straight to the comparison tests with our own devices. I’m not going to go into it too much, however we loaded up the Asphalt game on our S5, Note 4 and S6. We then clicked the options on the menu until a race actually started. The S6 loaded up a race 6 seconds faster than the other devices. The S5 was actually 2nd by about a second in front of the Note 4. The S6 fired up all cylinders and was absolutely rapid compared to the other devices.

  • rf13

    OK so let’s completely blow off the fact that SD card support was ditched because of the new lpddr4 memory in the s6. Besides that in order for them to use UFS 2.0 an SD card couldn’t be used. In all fairness that’s an upgrade. The batteries have shrunk in most of the flagships, including the iPhone so it should get dinged as well. There’s nothing different about the social either. Seriously this chart and article is so biased. Samsung came out with the first 64 bit 14nm soc. The iPhone 7 is rumored to be getting a 16nm next year from tsmc. Please tell me how they’ve stepped further back. If you want water proof get the active. You want an SD buy the older devices. There literally almost no support for SD cards like there was back then. I don’t know why people make such a big deal out of them.