Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform may throw a curveball to anyone swinging sticks of high performance DDR memory. According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, running memory voltage any higher than a modest 1.65V on an X58-based motherboard outfitted with a Core i7 processor could damage the CPU.
The limitation came to light thanks to an admin on the XFastest forums who posted pictures of the unreleased Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard in retail trim. A closeup of the DIMM slots reveals a warning label which states "According to Intel CPU SPEC, DIMMs with voltage setting over 1.65V may damage the CPU permanently. We recommend you install the DIMMs with the voltage setting below 1.65V.
If true (and The Inq claims Asus has confirmed the limitation), it would mean that several of today's high end DDR3 memory could potentially be rendered useless on the new platform. It's not uncommon for RAM manufacturers to require higher voltages at stock settings, and even many DDR3-1333 kits call for more than 1.65V. Apparently the problem lies with having the CPU and memory voltages on the Core i7 platform run synchronously. That's a major bummer for anyone who may have tried to future-proof their current build, but if you haven't jumped on the DDR3 bandwagon yet, expect to see appropriately spec'd kits start to surface with the Core i7 platform in mind. In the meantime, buyer beware.
One of the first questions new system builders ask centers around the amount of RAM to invest in, and it wasn't very long ago when the decision came down to 1GB or 2GB. With the emergence of Vista, and particularly the 64-bit version, the big question now is whether or not to go with 4GB. How long will it be before we see 16GB rigs in quantity?
It could be sooner than you think, and at least one company has already begun preparations. Samsung said it has started sampling 50nm DDR3 devices that ultimately will enable memory modules up to 16GB in capacity. The samples consist of 2Gb (that's lowercase 'b') chips with double the density of current 1Gb parts, while also cutting back on power by over 40 percent.
According to Samsung, the new small form factor paves the way for 8GB RIMMs and 4GB SODIMMs, equating to 16GB and 8GB respectively in dual-die packages. Next up - finding mainstream applications capable of feasting on hordes of memory.
Samsung said it will begin mass producing the 2Gb chips by the end of the year and make 2Gb DDR3 its primary DRAM process technology in 2009. As for pricing? We'll have to wait and see.
The crisp chill of fall brings change to the seasons and a never ending string of corporate rebranding. AMD is next on the block and rumored to be revising its product roadmap to increase the indentifying model numbers on its upcoming processors from four to five digits. The Phenom X3 and X4 branding will remain, but according to industry sources quoted by Tom’s Hardware, this will also change the AMD product roadmap in some interesting ways. It appears as though AMD is planning to release the Phenom 20550 and 20350 at 3.0 and 2.8 GHZ respectively with a DDR2 memory controller and will be backwards compatible with socket AM2+. This will give users of the previous platform another upgrade path before being forced to replace both motherboard and RAM. Both processors are expected to make a Q4 2008 release but have yet to be confirmed by AMD. All other upcoming processors will likely require DDR3 memory and the new socket AM3.
Tom’s Hardware reports that Intel will demonstrate Hynix’s just announced 16GB 2-rank DDR3 DIMM at this year’s IDF. This comes on the heels of Elpida Memory’s 16GB FB-DIMM in DDR2 flavor that I covered a few weeks ago.
Hynix’s new DDR3 DIMM uses MetaRAM’s DDR3 MetaSDRAM technology letting manufacturers pack four times the amount of mainstream DRAM onto these sticks and still be a drop in solution, using the standard DIMM power and thermal envelope.
Intel will also demonstrate a server with 160GB using Hynix DDR3 R-DIMMs and Meta SDRAM technology in the Advanced Technology Zone.
DDR3 MetaRAM is similar to the previous generation of DDR2 technology that enables significantly more memory in a server. An added benefit of the DDR3 MetaRAM technology is that enables larger memory capacity without negatively impacting the operating frequency of the DDR3 memory channel. It is the only technology that has been demonstrated to run 24GB of DDR3 SDRAM in a channel at 1066 million transactions per-second (MT/s). Using 3 of 16GB DIMM, users can achieve 48GB per channel running at 1066 MT/s, while other competing solutions max out at 16GB per channel at 1066MT/s.
I thought we’d never have machines using Vista’s (Ultimate and Business) 128GB RAM limit in it’s lifetime, but perhaps there is hope! If you have deep pockets you could fill the average 4 slots in an enthusiasts machine with 64GB of RAM. It most likely would be overkill. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what the performance stats would look like?
It’s the worst kept secret in the industry: Intel’s next-generation Penryn killer, codenamed Nehalem is just around the corner. We’ve been seeing leaked benchmarks based on early silicon for months, and Nehalem’s Wikipedia page is already packed with unconfirmed specifications. All indications – and this is with more optimizations to come, mind you – is that Nehalem may be a bad mother worthy of having Isaac Hayes pound out a theme song for it.
OK, we get it. It’s going to be fast, but just how difficult is it to build a Nehalem rig? What are the catches? Will the new motherboard and socket require some silly new BTX form factor? To find out, we convinced one of our hardware contacts (who’ll remain unnamed) to let us into its lab so we could finally get our hands on the new chip. There, we were provided with the desktop version of Nehalem – called Bloomfield – and an Intel D58XSO “Smackover” board.
Read on to see how we built the Nehalem rig, and what surprises we encountered along the way!
Records are meant to be broken, but it's Corsair who keeps doing all the breaking. Once again, the company's auspiciously named Dominator series has taken memory frequencies to new heights, surpassing its own world record for the highest achieved DDR3 frequency set just over two months ago.
On May 20, Corsair's Dominator danced at 2462MHz, a record that went untouched until now. This time around, Corsair managed to push ahead to 2580MHz and did so with respectable latencies set at 9-9-9-24. It took an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 overclocked to a 645MHz frontside bus to get there, as well as cooling the motherboard, CPU, chipset, and memory to a very chilly -20 degrees Celsius. Brrr!
Because of the extreme cooling involved and obvious risk of component failures, kids probably shouldn't try this at home, but if you're a memory manufacturer not named Corsair, feel free to give it a shot.
It wasn't that long ago when DDR2-1066 was considered high-end, and while DDR2 modules are still making a case for themselves with crazy-low prices, DDR3 continues to separate itself with insanely high clockspeeds. How high? Try twice as fast (on paper) as yesterday's top offerings.
Setting the bar is Corsair, who just released what the company rightfully claims is the world's fastest DDR3 memory solution in production volume. The new Dominator TW3X2G2133C9DF screams along at 2133MHz, the only kit on the market guaranteed to run at that speed.
"Our engineers have been working hard to achieve this astounding speed of 2133MHz," said John Beekley, VP of Applications Engineering at Corsair. "This is a tremendous accomplishment to be able to manufacture memory modules at this speed in production volumes," added Beekley.
The record-breaking modules aren't for the faint of heart carrying an MSRP of $575, with stock available right now.
Love him or hate him, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel has managed to get his branding slapped onto nearly every PC component it takes to build a computer, leaving only hard drives and processors left to conquer. Don't believe it? Have a look for yourself. Motherboard? Check. Videocard? Check. Case, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, and headset? Check, check, and check ad nauseum. And thanks to a recent partnership with OCZ now coming to fruition, Fatal1ty can notch both DDR2 and DDR3 memory into his belt too.
"OCZ worked closely with Fatal1ty and his team to desin new memory kits that pair perfectly with the top selling motherboards for a superior gaming experience," commented Alex Mei, cheif marketing officer of OCZ.
Hit the jump to find out why OCZ's excited about the partnership, and whether or not you should be too.
While a handful of DDR3-2000 kits can be found in the marketplace, the industry standard remains at DDR3-1600. That might soon change, as Elpida Memory today said it has developed power-efficient DDR3 memory in 1GB densities capable of cruising at 2Gbps.
Elpida's new memory uses a 65nm manufacturing process, and the company claims its 2Gbps modules use 35 percent less operating current compared with its existing products. And for those looking to save a bit of juice while running at the industry standard 1600Mbps, Elpida's memory will oblige at just 1.35V. Timings look to be a tad on the high side, most likely the result of running lower voltages:
DDR3-2000 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1867 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1600 (9, 9, 9)
Intel, AMD, and memory manufacturers are all pushing the market towards DDR3. Are you buying?
You can change CPU sockets, dump PCI, and jettison legacy ports all day long, but nothing, absolutely nothing, pisses people off like moving to a new type of RAM. Luckily, there’s a fallback: dual-format RAM motherboards such as MSI’s P35 Combo Platinum board.
Hit the jump to read our review of this dual-format monster.