Patriot Memory today announced new densities, speeds, and triple-channel kits added to its Viper Xtreme series. The new "Sector 7" tri-channel kits, as they're being called, come in both 12GB and 6GB capacities with speeds of 2000MHz and 1600MHz. Meanwhile, the new "Sector 5" dual-channel kits sport 8GB and 4GB capacities rated at 1600MHz.
"Today we introduce new speeds and capacities to our flagship heatshield design," says Les Henry, Patriot’s VP of Engineering. "Now enthusiasts using either the Intel P55 or X58 platforms have a variety of options in terms of capacity and speeds with our new high performance heatshield design. Our Viper Xtreme Series showcases our expertise in developing and delivering performance solutions for the enthusiast market."
Patriot is pretty jazzed about its "custom designed heatshield with a hefty copper insert" weighing 6 grams. According to Patriot, this design works better than traditional aluminum heatsinks.
If you're going for a biohazard theme, we can't think of a memory kit better suited than Mushkin's new Radioactive Series with yellow heatspreaders and matching logo.
"We're elated to offer viscerally engaging products for our friends in the gaming and high performance sectors. We have many plans to cater to enthusiasts, and this kit release is just the tip of the iceberg," said Wade Shiflett, Marketing Director, Mushkin.
We took a peek at Newegg and found that the lowest priced 6GB kit of RAM is less than a hundred bucks (barely), and that includes shipping. That's pretty incredibly, and perhaps even a little sickening for anyone who may have forked over several hundred dollars for a high-end 2GB kit of standard DDR back in the day. Thankfully, memory prices have fallen steeply since then, particularly in the last couple of years when the market seemingly bottomed out. Well guess what? Lower prices are yet to come.
According to market research firm inSpectrum, prices of mainstream DRAM chips posted a big sequential drop in the contract market for the first half of October. This, inSpectrum says, is indicative of slow demand among all the major OEMs, noting that a true price bottom has yet to come.
Mainstream 2GB DDR3 modules averaged $30.70 (contract price) in the first half of October, a 10 percent sequential drop. Meanwhile, 2GB DDR2 modules dropped 5 percent to settle in at $32.
That's bad news for memory makers who have seen prices drop for the past several months. In the second half of July, for example, 2GB DDR3 modules were going for $43.1 (contract price). At some point, pricing will level out and perhaps even begin to rise again, but for now anyway, it appears you're safe to put off that memory upgrade.
ASUSTek's entry-level Eee PC netbooks are due for a slight upgrade, according to reports that point to changes on the Asus support site, which now displays some new models currently not on the market. Apparently, the names of the new SKUs are nothing but existing netbook appellations suffixed by the letter D, which identifies models that feature DDR3-ready Intel Atom N455 single-core processors (1.66 GHz). Following the upgrade, the Eee PC 1001PQ, Eee PC 1001PX, and Eee PX 1005PX will be known as the Eee PC 1001PQD, 1001PXD, and 1005PXD, respectively. Pricing and shipping details are still awaited as there has been no official word on the upgrades.
There's a new CompactFlash card in town, Kingston's CompactFlash Ultimate 600x. With read and write speeds up to 90MB/s, it's Kingston's fastest card to date.
"The Kingston CF Ultimate 600x cards are great for photographers shooting in burst mode. For example, in a situation like a wedding or sporting event where the ability to rapidly take successive shots could make the difference between capturing the perfect shot or just missing it," said Mike Kuppinger, Flash card product manager, Kingston. "We are pleased to add the 600x card to our CompactFlash family of products which also includes the 266x Ultimate and 133x Elite Pro cards."
Kingston's shipping the new card in 16GB and 32GB capacities, both of which come with free downloadable data recovery software from MediaRECOVER.
No word on price, though a quick search online shows the CF/16GB-U3 (16GB) and CF/32GB-U3 (32GB) selling for around $110 and $185 shipped, respectively.
Elpida, Japan's biggest player in the DRAM market, announced today it has developed a 30nm class 2Gb DDR3 SDRAM for PCs and consumer electronics. According to Elpida, it's the industry's smallest 2Gb DDR3 around.
The smaller chip size allows Elpida to achieve a 45 percent higher chip yield per wafer compared to its 40nm products, the company claims. In addition, Elpida says the shrink will help contain rising chip costs associated with process migration. And as for JEDEC specs, everything is kosher.
"Elpida's new chip meets the JEDEC specs for the high-speed DDR3-1855 and 1.35V low-voltage, high-speed DDR3L-1600 memory chips, both expected to become mainstream industry products in 2011," Elpida said. "Also, the 30nm DDR3 SDRAM is eco-friendly. As a DDR3 SDRAM it achieves one of the industry's lowest levels of electric current usage (approximately 15 percent less operating and approximately 10 percent less standby usage compared with Elpida's 40nm products)."
Elpida said it will begin sample shipments in December 2010, with volume shipments slated for the same month.
Oracle is accusing memory chip maker Micron of conspiring to fix prices, alleging it overcharged Sun Microsystems for memory parts, Bloomberg reports.
In its complaint, Oracle said Micron and other DRAM makers "conspired to control production capacity, raise prices or slow their decline, allocate customers, and otherwise unlawfully overcharge their DRAM customers." The antitrust complaint was filed earlier this week in federal court in San Jose, California, and also names Hynix, Samsung, Eplida, and Infineon as co-conspirators.
Oracle's basing its complaint in part on a 2002 U.S. Justice Department investigation of memory chip price fixing, which ultimately resulted in four companies and 16 people being fined a total of around $731 million, Oracle claims.
Samsung said it has already begun mass producing 8GB SO-DIMM modules for notebooks and mobile workstations, and if others follow suit, 8GB could become the new 4GB.
You won't find 8GB as a standard option on most notebooks, and Samsung along isn't likely to drastically change that. But you probably will see 8GB start to creep into more higher end laptops. And for those that are interested in 8GB, Samsung says its new module consumes 53 percent less power than two 4GB DDR3 modules.
That's not going to make or break your notebook's battery life, but hey, every little bit helps. And in the mobile workstation space, those savings can start to add up. Dell, for example, is the first to market with the new module, with its 17-inch Precision M6500 coming equipped with four 8GB Samsung modules for a total of 32GB.
For those of you who tend to a take a boatload of photos everywhere you go, Memorex has come up with an external backup solution specifically for you. Dubbed "Mirror for Photos," it's basically a glorified external hard drive that zeros in (not zeros out) your snapshots and backs them up automagically.
"As people’s digital libraries continue to grow, they understand how critical it is to preserve those moments, yet are often intimidated with the notion of backing up," said Jess Walton, Memorex brand manager. "Mirror for Photos provides even non tech-savvy users with a quick, simple and maintenance-free method for backing up and protecting precious memories."
In other words, it's a backup solution you can give your mother and have realistic expectations that she'll actually be able to use it. The device is USB powered and comes in 320GB ($80), 500GB ($100), and 640GB ($120) capacities and is available at...Toys R Us. Award yourself a million geek points if you would have guessed that one.
DRAM makers have been through some tough times in recent years. That's true for nearly the entire tech industry, but the DRAM market in particular was hit hard by the global recession and reduced spending. An oversupply of chips and continued weak demand forced some DRAM makers to be on the brink of collapse, while others sought a government bailout. One firm asked workers to take unpaid leaves to keep from going out of business. At one point, A-Data chairman Simon Chen declared that the DRAM market was the worst it has been for 15 years.
That all happened back in 2008 and through most of 2009. Here we are approaching 2011 and while the situation is improved, there's a lingering fear that the DRAM market could collapse all over again. Scott Chen, vice president of Kingston, believes that DRAM makers could go through another crisis like the one above if demand doesn't pick up in the next 3-4 quarters.
Part of the problem is that DRAM makers can't seem to catch a break. Weaker than expected demand from the Chinese market is taking its toll, and prior to that, it was the European bond crisis. Going forward, analysts predict slow sales in the fourth quarter in China, which has traditionally been the high season.
DRAM makers will have to figure out a way to cope with yet another period of dormant sales. Kingston's strategy is to avoid any kind of capacity expansion, even if orders for DRAM modules and NAND flash products continue to grow. Should that happen, Kingston will look at outsourcing.