What Is Tiny BGA?

With 99% of the computer memory market using TSOP, what exactly is BGA and why does it matter? Ball Grid Array basically describes a different connection method for attaching the memory chips to the PCB or Printed Circuit Board.

TSOP (or Thin Small Outline Package) is used in almost every other computer memory on the market. The memory is connected to the PCB by pins on the sides of the memory.

BGA does not use pins for attachment. Instead, connections are made with small balls of solder on the PCB. In the ever-increasing move to smaller signal traces in electronics, this allows a shorter connection distance and higher connector density than TSOP. The TSOP and BGA pictures above are at the exact same scale, so another advantage is the really tiny size that can be achieved with BGA memory. This design should also improve heat dissipation.

In fact, Kingmax does not even provide heatspreaders with this DDR500 and DDR466 memory. Almost every other memory manufacturer tells us that heatspreaders are needed at these high speeds, but Kingmax says they are not needed with the tiny BGA design. As memory speeds have gone up in recent months, so has the temperature. Particularly in tight SFF cases, high-speed memory can get blazingly hot. The thin small Kingmax memory is like a breath of fresh air in those configurations where heat is a problem.

Looking at a comparison with a normal TSOP module, you can see that the Kingmax PCB is also smaller than the normal TSOP PCB.

When you add the normal heatspreader to the high-performance TSOP module, the Kingmax looks absolutely tiny in comparison with the height, bulk, and weight of another DDR500 memory module.

While you may have only seen BGA on video cards in today's market, you will be seeing more of this technology with the upcoming DDR2 modules. For all of the reasons mentioned above, BGA is the package of choice for DDR2, which will be announced with Intel's upcoming chipsets for the new Socket 775 Prescott.

Index Kingmax DDR500 Hardcore Memory
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  • bldkc - Friday, March 12, 2004 - link

    By the way could you guys please start highlighting the item being tested in the graphs with a different colored bar or even different color text for the name (or both)? It makes it very difficult to find the product you are testing if I have to read every name on the graph just to find one of them.
  • bldkc - Friday, March 12, 2004 - link

    Wow, don't buy the DDR466! On page 6 it took 1114 seconds to complete! Okay, it's a typo, but still.
    #10-If you wear a thinner coat outside you won't stay as warm as if you wear a thick one. The same thing with chips.
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    #11 - Corrected.

    #10 - BGA chips are both much smaller and thinner than TSOP chips. The electrical connections are also much shorter, generating less heat to start with than TSOP chips. I have seen data supporting 80 to 85% heat dissipation with BGA chips.
  • Shalmanese - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    I sure hope Kingmax didn't provide you with 512K chips of RAM ;). (top of pg3)
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    What is it exactly about BGA chips that make them run cooler than TSOP chips? There's the size difference of course, but that doesn't account for the temp difference, does it?
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    It's good to see this from Kingmax... I've been wondering for quite some time now why video cards have had DDR500 memory for a few years, and it hasn't made it's way into system RAM. Now we have RAM on video cards capable of DDR1000... why can't we get similar results with system RAM?
  • Inferno - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    Something everyone may want to note, if you decrease voltage on the Kingmax sometimes that yeilds better O/Cs then raising it. I have owned alot of Kingmax TinyBGA and it usually responds negativly to more voltage. They also do benifit from heat spreaders when pushed hard and kept at default voltage.
  • Pumpkinierre - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    Good article but still more of the same. It seems like 18month old Winbond BH5 and now these BGA chips are the fastest at DDR400-433. However, are there any hints of a DDR466-500 at low latencies (CAS2) out there? I mean graphics cards have got 256Mb of <3ns DDR (dont know the latencies) so why arent the memory manufacturers using that?

    Xtreme DDR have got some PC3700+ at 2-3-3-6 using picked 5ns Samsung chips (http://www.xtremeddr.com/products/x_pc3700+.shtml)... They quote 2T command rate and some i875 mobo compatibility, which is counter to the Mushkin website advice that intel dual bank chipsets force 1T timings, and memory rated above 1T could be unstable. Perhaps you might get a coupla sticks of that and put them through your test procedure?
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link


    We have achieved ludicris speed, overshot the winnebago, and gone to plaid.

  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    BGA is the new standard on DDR2. I welcome the change.


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