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What is Memory architecture?

Memory architecture can be best described as a method


used to store and retrieve data electronically in a combination of most reliable, durable, fast and cost
effective way. Depending on the application, sometimes certain compromises needed to be done
where some of these requirements need to be sacrificed in order to improvise some other
requirement.
Random Access Memory
One of the most important component of a smartphone is the random access memory (RAM)
besides the powerful CPU and GPU of todays world. Well, basically, without a RAM module it would
be impossible to operate a computer system because accessing file would be extremely slow and it
would not logically be possible to perform any basic tasks.
The type of RAM which is used in smartphones are called DRAM where the D stands for
dynamic. What gives the DRAM its dynamic nature is where it is built in such a way that each
capacitor on the RAM module stores a bit, and then the capacitor leaks charge and which requires
constant refreshing. That also means the contents which are in the DRAM module can be changed
very quickly and is easy to store and different place. Also, the storage size can change depending
on the task the system is trying to perform due to its static characteristic. This is an efficient feature
of it because lets say Android need needs 2 gigabyte on disk, it would not be logical or efficient if
the RAM archive the entire memory, especially for those low end devices which has 512 megabyte
RAM, it simply wouldnt be able to do that.
Samsung decided to use their own RAM module which is the latest 3GB LPDDR3 mobile
DRAM for their Galaxy Note 3. Below shows the specification of the RAM module from Samsung:
The Samsung 3GB LPDDR3 mobile DRAM uses six of the industry's smallest 20-
nanometer (nm) class* four gigabit (Gb) LPDDR3 chips, in a symmetrical structure
of two sets of three chips stacked in a single package only 0.8 millimeters high. With a
full line-up of package dimensions, Samsung's new ultra-slim memory solutions will
enable thinner smartphone designs and allow for additional battery space, while
offering a data transfer speed of up to 2,133 megabits per second (Mbps) per pin.
At the time of release it was the first smartphone to be equipped with a RAM at that capacity and
speed. How does the huge amount of RAM actually increases the performance of the device? Some
belief huge amount of RAM is unnecessary in smartphone, however, technologies have advanced
greatly. Amount of RAM such as this enables greater multitasking possibilities, which means more
apps can run simultaneously. Not just that, smartphones does not come with a dedicated video RAM
or graphics module. Since CPU and GPU is merged into a single die, that means any RAM which is
in a smartphone has to share between the processing cores and GPU. So with the Galaxy Note 3,
we will basically get lesser loading time within gaming applications.


Like with your desktop computer there are three major areas of the memory that affect its speed: the
clock speed, type of RAM and the amount of channels. How exactly these three things affect the
performance is complicated and confusing to explain, but basically you are looking for a higher clock
speed on multiple channels.
The clock speed directly affects the input/output (I/O) speeds of the RAM modules, with a higher clock
speed indicating that the module is capable of adding more information to the memory chips per second.
To save power mobile RAM does not reach huge clock speeds (generally 300-500 MHz), but for
smartphone applications this should be more than adequate.
The type of RAM affects several things to do with performance, such as how effective each clock cycle is at
adding information to the module and how much power per MHz the chip consumes. Like with
computers, memory comes in the form of double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory,
which is a huge mouthful and usually abbreviated to DDR SDRAM.

However, logically bigger RAM doesnt mean higher performance at all time. With a clever
operating system implementation huge RAM size is not even necessary. But what is
Flash storage is different compared to RAM. Files which are stored in the RAM will be
erased as soon as the power is disconnected, whereas, in flash storage, the files will not be erased
once the power is cut. The only downside of flash storage is that, it is slow. Thus, it is used as the
ROM and its called flash-style ROM. This can also be said as volatile storage and it shortens the
access time to the RAM. The ROM basically stores the operating system and application. This
actually explains the loading screen we usually get on our smartphone which occurs due to
information from the slower ROM (slow storage) have to be sent to the RAM (fast storage).
However, when the system is powered off, the contents of the RAM will be lost which then at the
next boot, files must be filled from the ROM.