Thursday, January 15th 2009

Intel and AMD Postpone 100% DDR3 Transition

Leading CPU makers Intel and AMD have adopted memory standards in fairly quick succession in the past. This however, doesn't seem to be the case with DDR3. AMD is yet to release a CPU that supports DDR3 memory, and is two years behind Intel with its DDR3 implementation plans. Intel on the other hand has managed 100% DDR3 dependency with only its premium Core i7 platform, with DDR3 not completely replacing DDR2 in any of its mainstream or value lineups.

Market factors, namely the DRAM manufacturing industry, are increasingly posing difficulties to CPU makers to bring DDR3 memory at a consumer-friendly price point. With manufacturing costs refusing to come down and the Core i7 not able generate the expected demand that justifies selling triple channel kits at sub-$100 price-points, CPU makers are rethinking their large-scale DDR3 standard transition plans for their entire lineups. Intel on its part is contemplating on postponing its 5-series mainstream platform for the Intel Core i5 series processors. AMD on the other hand, is still struggling with technical difficulties in achieving stability and compatibility with DDR3 memory on its DDR3-supportive memory controllers the upcoming AM3-socket CPUs come with. So the company is also unlikely to transition to DDR3 until it is able to come out with a workable BIOS, sources add. It could be as long as 2010 by when a 100% industry-wide implementation of DDR3 can take place.Source: DigiTimes
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29 Comments on Intel and AMD Postpone 100% DDR3 Transition

Wile E said:
That statement is a common misconception. AMDs do not always prefer lower speeds with tighter timings. My amd rig performs better at 1066MHz CAS5 than 800MHz CAS4 with the cpu set to 12*267. When you crank the ram speeds up, the latencies naturally go down when all else is equal. We then normally have to raise the latencies in the bios to make them stable again. Sometimes the speed increase offers more of a boost to latency than raising the timings takes away from it.

As a general rule of thumb, divide the frequency by the CAS to get a rough idea how different speeds and latencies stack up per clock.

For instance, 800/CAS4 = 200 while 1066/CAS5 = 213.2. That means 1066 CAS is slightly faster per clock.

It isn't always that way, on a pre-i7 Intel, the chipset plays a major role, and sub-timings can play a role as well, on both AMD and Intel, but for the most part, the above equation is an excellent indicator.
note i said "decently clocked"? i wasnt saying 800 at cas4 was better then 1066@cas5, i was saying amd isnt really being crippled by bandwith issues.
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Castiel said:
That is so gay... I am really wanting to have DDR3 with my 940.
correct me if im mistaken but i believe that the present PII are not compatible with DDR3 configurations

ps i saw bta's reply just now
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Global economy is not doing so good these days. Outside of enthusiast community the situation is not so nice. The OEM's are struggling and they are usually the major force behind any major technology switchover. Sure, enthusiasts are responsible for a chunk of the market, few hundred thousand units here and there, but OEM's buy everything in the millions and all this new stuff that's coming out (well, relatively new) whether DDR3 or new chipsets or whatever is just too much of a financial risk in this kind of economy. Heck, Intel is postponing the release of their Lynfield desktop processor and P55 chipset and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets pushed all the way to September-October, or maybe even later if the economy keeps getting worse.

All you got to do is look at the i7 adoption rates. They are terrible, even after several months in the wild. AMD's PII is not doing any better. In fact the current AM2 iteration is dropping in price like Enron stock circa 2001, yet very few takers in or outside of enthusiast community. $100 for PII in month or two? I wouldn't be surprised.

DDR3 is getting cheaper and cheaper yet people are still reluctant to go DDR3 route (along with everything that goes with it, new chipsets or CPU's). Yesterday I saw a decent Corsair DDR3 4GB kit for $70 on Cheaper than many DDR2 kits. Money is tight and people are not spending as much.
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I see AMD moving slow on DDR3 just like NVIDIA is going slow on the transition to a higher GDDR memory. NVIDIA has been stuck at GDDR3 for a long time and by the time they make the jump, they'll completely skip GDDR4 and go to GDDR5.

So why doesn't AMD do a similar thing and just hop right onto the DDR4 board when it's out 3 years from now? Nah, that'll be too much of a long wait, I still think they've made the right decisions up to now though. Best wishes for the green company.
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