SK hynix is joining Samsung and Micron by announcing CXL memory expansion. The SK hynix CXL 2.0 Memory Expansion modules bring RAM to EDSFF for next-generation servers. This will be a big deal as DDR5 moves to PCIe Gen5 channels.
SK hynix CXL 2.0 Memory Expansion Modules Launched
SK hynix showed the “current composition of local DDR5”. What is fun about this is that the company is showing 96GB DDR5 DIMMs. Current DDR4 capacities are 64GB and 128GB, so that is one change being shown in this image. The other is that we get 260-320GB/s of memory bandwidth on 30-40GB/s per channel. The capacity and bandwidth align with 8-channel memory, so this seems to assume an Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon, not a full 12-channel Genoa system.
SK hynix is showing EDSFF modules and saying that each can increase both the total amount of bandwidth and the total capacity with 96GB CXL 2.0 memory modules.
CXL 2.0 is also where we see single level CXL switching come into play, so these are important products. You can learn more about CXL in Compute Express Link or CXL What it is and Examples plus the taco primer:
If you want to learn more about the EDSFF E3.S form factor that SK hynix is using, we have a primer on EDSFF as well:
The new CXL memory modules are clearly being designed for the next generation (or two) of servers.
While the company is showing 96GB modules at this point, given that Samsung Launched a 512GB CXL Memory Module we expect the line to have different capacity points.
Still, adding memory into the same EDSFF slots that will hold SSDs in the future is going to be one of the biggest changes coming to servers. Vendors will still offer legacy 2.5″ servers, but many are going to want to EDSFF systems just to have the flexibility to add this type of memory expansion solution rather than just SSDs into slots. CXL will change servers forever, especially as we move to the CXL 3.0 generation.