The easiest way to improve your memory? DDR3: the new generation of Double Data Rate (DDR). With higher clock frequencies, lower power consumption and hence lower heat dissipation, DDR3 promises to keep users not just ahead, but way ahead.
Kobus De Beer, category lead: component platforms, Axiz, says that while leading ICT infrastructure distributors like Axiz are ready for DDR3, the market is taking a while to respond to this development.
DDR3 is currently being launched with the new Intel P35 Northbridge controller. The new Intel P35 chipset, known as “Bearlake” supports DDR2 or DDR3. De Beer says that despite there still being some apprehension in the market, consumers should care about DDR3 when it comes to making a purchase.
De Beer explains that because DDR3 is designed to run at higher memory speeds, the signal integrity of the memory module is now more important. “While DDR2 makes use of ‘T branches’, DDR3 has replaced these with ‘fly-by’ technology. This means that where DDR2 uses T topology that branches for address and control lines chaining from one DRAM to another, DDR3 now creates a single path – taking away the mechanical line balancing and using automatic signal time delay.”
The new DDR3 DRAM chip also has an automatic levelling circuit for calibration which memorises the calibration data.
Because DDR3 uses eight internal banks – as opposed to the four used by DDR2 – this further speeds up the system.
“More internal banks enable advance pre-fetch to reduce access latency,” says De Beer. “DDR3 also reduces the memory voltage – dropping it to 1,5V; a 16% reduction on that of DDR2.”
Despite all these added features, De Beer says that the market response to DDR3 has been cautious for two reasons: “DDR3 is still expensive, as is to be expected with any new technology in the market.
"Pricing will, however, definitely come down as the DDR3 modules go into mass production. The second reason is due to there being some confusion around the product – consumers are under the impression that DDR3 modules will work on DDR2 slots, which is not the case.”
While DDR3 will currently only appeal to true gaming and power enthusiasts, De Beer says that Asus and Kingston are already very much in the market, with the Asus motherboards supporting both Kingston Value Ram and Kingston Hyper X. He believes that as Intel’s Core 2 Quad drive increases, the DDR3 platform will start to appeal to more users.
As to what consumers can look forward to next? “Intel will release the X38 chipsets, replacing the 975x extreme range, later this year. Intel will also launch the new Penryn (Yorkflied and Wolfdale) 45nm cores in the first quarter of 2008, with FSB1333 platforms becoming mainstream during this period as well.
"The new generation Intel 3 series chipsets will offer users an enhanced experience in game play and game compatibility with Quad Core support and high definition playback,” says De Beer.
With so much to look forward to then, users and future purchasers should get ready to improve their memories – and hence various other abilities – effortlessly.