Kingston DDR3 and DDR2 DIMMs compared
DDR3 specification finalized after memory and motherboards ship

JEDEC today finalized and published the DDR3 memory standard (DOC). The DDR3 memory standard promises dramatic improvements that deliver greater performance while consuming less power than DDR1 and DDR2. DDR3 memory drops voltage requirements down to 1.5-volts from DDR2’s 1.8-volt requirement and DDR1’s 2.5-volt requirement. Memory manufacturers can increase voltage to achieve greater speeds, as with high-end overclocking memory.

“The DDR3 standard will serve as the lynchpin for developing a new generation of memory solutions that address demands for both lower power and high performance,” Intel Director of Platform Memory Options and JEDEC board member Paul Fahey said. “DDR3 will be an essential ingredient in future mobility platforms and those applications requiring the highest performance, such as video-on-demand, encoding and decoding, gaming and 3D visualization.”

JEDEC also touts increased operating temperature range, memory device reset, burst chop, dynamic on-die termination, output driver calibration and write leveling as new features of DDR3 memory. The new features allow DDR3 memory to scale to higher speeds while retaining the module form factor. With the DDR3 standard, memory manufactures can offer chips in 512Mbit to 8Gbit densities in either monolithic or stacked packaging.

“The DDR3 standard represents the culmination of countless hours of collaboration between memory device, system, component and module producers,” JEDEC JC-42.3 Chairman and AMD employee Joe Macri said. “This standard will permit emerging systems to achieve greater performance, storage and functionality, consistent with the needs of an increasingly information-intensive world community.”

DDR3 memory modules for desktops have 240-pins, just like DDR2. However, DDR3 and DDR2 memory modules and slots have notches in different places. The physical differences in memory modules prevent users from accidentally installing DDR2 modules into DDR3 slots and vice versa. JEDEC has also published specifications for DDR3 SODIMM modules for mobile and limited space uses. As with DDR2 and DDR1 memory, JEDEC has published specifications for registered and unbuffered DDR3 modules.

DDR3 platform support is limited to Intel Bearlake-family chipsets. Intel expects DDR3 to become mainstream next year with the release of the Eaglelake chipset family. AMD plans to join in with DDR3 support with Socket AM3 processors in 2008.

Expect DDR3 memory modules from the usual manufacturers such as Corsair, G.Skill, Kingston, OCZ Technology, Super Talent and others.

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