We did some digging, and from what we can tell, G.Skill's correct in claiming that it's new DDR3 kit is the fastest around, so long as we put the CAS Latency (CL) setting front and center.
The new kit, which is part of G.Skill's Pi series and "specially tuned for Intel Lynnfield Core i7 870, 860 processors," comes rated at DDR3-2200 with 7-10-10-10 timings at 1.65V. It's available in 4GB (2x2GB) form, but is it really the overall fastest?
That's a tough one to answer. A quick peek on Newegg shows one other DDR3-2200 memory kit, this one from Super Talent. It comes rated at 8-8-8-24, so we're willing to give G.Skill's kit the slight edge, at least on paper.
G.Skill says its new modules will be available through collaborated distribution partners "immediately with affordable price." As of this writing we weren't able to track down a kit online.
The DRAM market slumped to a 15-year nadir last year. But it is now moving briskly on the road to recovery. According to DRAMeXchange, contract prices for 1Gb DDR2 and 1Gb DDR3 chips shot up by 15.7% and 10.9%, respectively, in the late part of October. Nanya Technology's vice president and spokesperson Pai Pei-Lin expects an encore from the DRAM market in November. He believes November will bring yet another double-digit rise in contract quotes for DRAM memory.
Want to get in Mother Nature's good graces and maybe save a buck or two while doing so? Combine Samsung's memory chips with Microsoft's operating system. That's the message in a nutshell the two companies will work together to promote.
"There is not doubt that the combination of Windows 7 and 40nm DDR3 in new PCs will make users very happy," said Dong-Soo Jun, executive senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "If you opt for 4GB of memory in a Windows 7-based system, over typical 2GB-based systems used today, you'll see an increase in performance, while using less power thanks to the efficiency of Samsung's 40nm DDR3 DRAM."
If this all sounds a little bit hokey, you may just have to get used to it. Depending on how this marketing campaign plays out, Samsung suggested it might further collaborate with Microsoft on more green IT efforts on a global scale.
Perhaps the DRAM market is on the road to recovery after all. Business has picked up as of late, and according to Pai Pei-Lin, VP and spokesperson of Nanya Technology, contract prices for DRAM chips will continue to climb next month.
In a sort of domino effect, Pai said he expects Windows 7 to set in motion a long overdue upgrade cycle that has been stalled the past three years because of disinterest in Vista. This will mean even higher demand for DRAM chips, potentially reaching the DRAM market's peak it in 1995, and ultimately a shortage of chips in 2010 as memory makers reach their limits in capacity output.
According to Pai, DDR2 and DDR3 will likely split the market evenly in the first quarter of 2010, but their could be a pricing disparity. Contract prices for DDR2 chips have been rising since August and finally surpassed DDR3 this month, and that trend looks to continue for at least the next couple of months, Pai noted.
In a change of pace, DDR2 pricing has finally surpassed DDR3, at least on the contract side. According to DRAMeXchange, contract quotes for 2GB DDR2 modules jumped up to an average of $31.50 in the first half of October, a little above DDR3's $31 quote. In addition, 1Gb (gigabit, not gigabyte) DDR2 chips have settled at $1.78, slightly above DDR3 at $1.75.
In the spot market, DRAMeXchange notes that prices for 1Gb DDR2 surged by 5 percent in a single day on October 8, and average quotes for 1Gb DDR2 800MHz chips managed to top the $2 mark at $2.24.
What this all means going forward is anyone's guess in the unpredictable memory market. But it at least appears that DDR3 will become a better bang/buck investment on the consumer side than DDR2. Elpida has already announced plans to increase output of DDR3 chips from 20,000-30,000 up to around 75,000 wafers per month, and Samsung also said it would ramp up production.
Look for low-power DDR3 modules to hit retailers before the end of the year. That's because Elpida Memory today said it has finished development of its 40nm 2-gigabit (2Gb, with a lowercase 'b') DDR3 SDRAM and will ship samples next November. Mass production is slated to begin before the end of 2009.
On the manufacturing side, Elpida's smaller 40nm chips allows the company to achieve a 44 percent higher chip yield per wafer compared to 50nm, and a 100 percent yield for DDR3 products that operate at 1.6Gbps, the company said.
Elpida claims its 40nm 2Gb DDR3 chips use about two-thirds less current and support 1.2V to 1.35V operation, in addition to the DDR3 standard 1.5V. That's about a 45 percaent reduction in power consumption, which might not sound like much for a typical home user, but could add up in a server farm.
Like that cold you can't seem to shake, DDR2 has been hanging onto the market place, even as new platforms make a push for DDR3. That all changes six months from now, as DDR3 finally becomes the mainstream memory, says Morgan Stanley analyst Frank Wang.
Samsung, Hynix, Elpida, and Micron have all started to reshuffle manufacturing to allocate more capacity to DDR3 output, and of course that means scaling down DDR2 parts. And for those who are unable to produce DDR3 chips, they will be forced to pack their bags and exit the market when DDR3 supplants DDR2, Wang said.
In the meantime, DDR2 pricing is poised to fall once again. However, Wang warned that chip suppliers shouldn't take this as a sign that DDR2 is here to stay and they need to be aware of DDR3's impending march into the mainstream.
The price suppliers pay for DDR2 RAM has been climbing slowly for some time. Now it may have finally crossed paths with DDR3 prices, says price tracker DRAMexchange. The cost of a 1Gb 800Mhz chip has risen to $2, about the same as DDR3.As more platforms add support for DDR3, adoption has accelerated.
The increase in price had been accelerating in the last few weeks. It has gotten to the point that PC OEMs find supplies of DDR2 chips to be dwindling. When an OEM can get more advanced DDR3 for the same price, the market should switch over, according to analysts.This means you may be seeing a lot more DDR3 RAM in computers going forward.
According to Samsung president Oh-Hyn Kwon, the memory maker has decided to ramp up production of DDR3 chips and put an end to the DDR3 shortage.
A DDR3 shortage is news to us, but Kwon said that the supply of DDR3 chips has tightened in recent times, which he blames on a faster-than-expected pickup in demand. To alleviate the potential problem, Samsung will allocate more capacity to DDR3 output, with most of the focus moving towards 40nm.
How this all will affect pricing remains anyone's guess. According to Kwon, industry players won't even known what kind of pricing trend to expect until after late November, but he did add that DRAM pricing has returned to "reasonable" levels.
We've been saying for months now that it's only a matter time before DRAM prices go back up and it will no longer be possible to pick up a high capacity kit with just the loose change in your pants pocket. That time hasn't quite come yet, but according to data by DRAMeXchange, prices for 1Gb DDR2 and 1Gb DDR3 are steadily increasing.
As it currently stands, 1Gb of DDR2 runs $1.53 while a Gb of DDR3 costs $1.66. That doesn't sound like much (and it isn't), but those prices represent increases of 8.5 percent for DDR2 and 5.1 percent for DDR3.
Meanwhile, contract prices for 2GB DDR2 and 2GB DDR3 sticks have shot up $27.50 and $29.50, respectively, in just the first half of September, and we still have the rest of the month to go.
Once again, if you've been eying a memory upgrade, you may want to bite the bullet rather than continue to play Russian Roulette with market prices.