One Semiconductor to begin production of server DDR5 RCD chip

Registering clock driver chip developer One Semiconductor will begin production of RCD for server DDR5 DRAM during the second half of the year.

Company CEO Kim Chang-hyun told TheElec that One Semiconductor was already manufacturing DDR4 RCD as of last year after passing all required quality tests.

It was in the middle of getting its DDR5 RCD tested by customers, Kim said.

The chip was being tested by Intel, Samsung, and SK Hynix.

One Semiconductor was the first South Korean company to commercialize RCD chips last year.

Previously, South Korean chipmakers relied on imports from foreign companies US Rambus, Japan’s Renesas, and China’s Montage.

Kim founded One Semiconductor in 2018 after previously having worked at Samsung as a development director of DRAM and CTO of Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

The company has 43 staff members that are mostly experts in semiconductors, the CEO said.

One Semiconductor’s main competence area was fast signal processing technology and it was developing system chips that work with memory chips, the CEO noted.

RCD is placed between the DRAM and the CPU. It redistributes orders from the CPU, which is important for server DRAM modules that house multiple DRAM chips.

The chip is essentially a signal buffer between the CPU and DRAM, the CEO said, and its function becomes more and more important when the speed of the DRAM goes up.

The name for the chip, RCD, was set by JEDEC in the mid-2010s when DDR4 launched. 

RCD must function well with the DRAM and CPU and requires verification from both sides, hence the reason why the entry barrier to the market is high, the CEO explained.

One Semiconductor has so far secured 22.5 billion won in funding and is aiming for a Series C this year from an additional investment of more than 10 billion won. The RCD aimed at DDR5 will be made using Samsung’s 28nm node. 

Meanwhile, the company was also developing a clock driver, which acts the same as RCD for PC and mobile.