I would like to thank Winchip for providing the review sample. The firm is well known in Asia and is now entering the european market as well.
Winchip was founded in 1995 and has been a large player in the asian OEM market from the beginning. They have been pushing their retail offerings quite successful, with unique DDR2 and now DDR3 memory. The next goal of Winchip is to enter the european market with their retail products. We covered their Computex presence in this article as it did draw our attention. They are one of the few companies shipping DDR2 memory at PC2-9600 or 1200 MHz and already had DDR3 at 1600 MHz running at the show. The DDR2 1200 MHz kit is already shipping in Asia and we get to take a look at the pair of DIMMs today as well.
Winchip is also looking for a distributor in Europe to break into the market. This first step is usually a very tough one and once they do, the new brand name will still have to establish itself in Europe. All this takes quite some time.
DDR2 vs. DDR3Intel is once again pushing the new standard and all major memory manufacturers had DDR3 up and running at various speeds using Intel P35 based mainboards. We are seeing the same scenario as was the case with the introduction of DDR2. Intel is leading the way, even though there is no real price/performance advantage and AMD is waiting to switch at a later point.
The question arises if there is a performance increase when using DDR3, compared to DDR2 at the same clock speed. The new memory standard has two big advantages: it clocks much higher and uses less power (voltage) to run. DDR2 currently tops out at 1200 MHz at CL5-5-5 with at least 2.3V needed to achieve this speed. DDR3 on the other hand has been up and running with up to 2000 MHz at Computex. The big downfall at the moment, is high latency of such modules. DDR3 1333 MHz should have a latency between CL6 and CL8, while DDR3 1600 MHz, which is the case with this Winchip sample, runs at CL8-8-8-15 with 1.95-2.05V. Memory modules with higher clock require even higher CL rating to run. Current production of DDR3 ICs goes up to 1066 MHz only, while there is a 1600 MHz JEDEC standard, but the amount of chips that can run at this speed or more is very small. This means that you will have to expect a price premium on these when compared to the already quite expensive, standard DDR3 offerings.
We will see a price drop as soon as there is a sufficient demand and thus production of the memory, but as was the case with the transition to DDR2, we are not bound to see a ramp in manufacturing until AMD goes the DDR3 route as well and the market has mainstream and budget mainboards using this memory.
Winchip sent us a clear package. As these heatspreaders are a recent change, forcing a different plastic package, the design has not yet been finalized. After getting the samples, we got the above pictures directly from Winchip. Winchip will use the large heatspreaders on the high-end model memory if no preference is mentioned. This is good, as any memory at increased voltages produces more heat and the larger variants cool the memory better.