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.
I have a home-built PC that uses a Gigabyte GA-EG45M-UD2H motherboard. When I load it with 8GB (four 2GB sticks) of RAM, I find that I cannot install either Windows XP or Vista 64-bit. The installation process fails partway through the “expanding files” section, with a “corrupt files” error. I tried new install media to no avail. Eventually, on a hunch, I removed all of the memory except the module in slot 1, leaving 2GB on the system, and the install completed normally.
I tested all of my modules in slot 1 and all passed. I then tested a module in each slot and all four passed. So what could be the issue with this motherboard? The memory (Kingston DDR2-800) is listed in the compatible memory list and the motherboard supports up to 16GB. I could find no information about this issue on Gigabyte’s website.
Intel working in conjunction with Numonyx unveiled breakthrough technology that will keep Moore’s Law accurate. The new process will enable non-volatile memory to cost-effectively scale down to 5nm.
Without getting too technical, the companies were able to build upon phase-change memory (PCM) and create a new technology call “phase-change memory and switch” (PCMS). PCMS integrates a new thin-film selector that effectively lets the memory/selector layers stack very densely. The nature of PCM allows it operate in two ways: quick “RAM like” bit changing, and non-volatile storage.
It is unlikely well see devices using the technology for “many years” according to Al Fazio, Intel Fellow and director of memory technology development. However, this is a key first step in continuing to scale technology according to Moore’s Law.
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.
After a flurry of activity in the solid state drive market, it's been comparatively quiet the past few weeks, but we finally have some new developments to report. As you may recall, the controllers used in SSDs can have a significant impact on performance, and Micron thinks it has a winner on its hands with its just-developed JFM612 NAND flash controller chip.
Micron's first controller ran into some pesky performance problems, some of which they fixed with the JMF602B controller. But the initial hiccups left the door open for competitors to step in, like Indilinx did with its Barefoot controller. Like Barefoot, Micron's new chip is able to use 32nm flash chips, which helps lower the cost of SSDs.
After a few initial issues with the new controller, DailyTech reports that Micron has finally begun mass producing JFM612 chips. The first SSDs to utilize them will be Active Media with the launch of their Predator-X7 series. Along with Micron's new controller, the Predator-X7 will come with 128MB of DRAM cache to eliminate any chance of stuttering, and boast sequential read and write speeds of up to 230MB/s and 180MB/s, respectively.
Six months ago, the the Predator-X7 would have been a real barn burner, but it's tough to get too excited over 180MB/s writes anymore. However, more SSDs built around Micron's new controller are on the way, and you can probably expect these to give today's offerings a run for their money.
SanDisk on Tuesday announced that it has begun shipping flash memory cards based on the company's X4 flash memory technology. Chips built using the new technology hold four bits of data in each memory cell, or twice as many as the cells in conventional multi-level cell (MCL) NAND chips, the company said.
"The development and commercialization of X4 technology represents an important milestone for the flash storage industry," said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief operating officer, SanDisk. "Our challenge with X4 technology was to not only deliver the lower costs inherent to 4-bits-per-cell, but to do so while meeting the reliability and performance requirements of industry standard cards that employ MLC NAND."
SanDisk called the shipment of X4 memory a "necessary evolution" for the industry, noting that the technology will result in a cost advantage for consumers.
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.
Has your PC been on th fritz lately? If so, there's a good chance it's the system memory causing all those headaches, according to Google's research. Google, which has several thousand computers in its data centers, collected real-world data on its systems and wrote a research paper (PDF) titled "DRAM Errors in the Wild: A Large-Scale Field Study."
"We found the incidence of memory errors and the range of error rates across different DIMMs (dual pin-line memory modules) to be much higher than previously reported," according to the paper written by Bianca Schroeder, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Google's Eduardo Pinheiro and Wolf-Dietrich Weber. "Memory errors are not rare events."
The results might surprise you. Google's research reveals that correctable memory errors occur in one of every three of the company's servers each year, and one in a hundred suffer an uncorrectable error, which usually leads to a crash.
It's important to note that Google's servers use ECC (error correction code) memory, yet each module, on average, suffered nearly 4,000 correctable errors per year. So what's the big deal if they're correctable? A correctable error on a Google machine is likely an uncorrectable error on your PC, says Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group.
However, Glaskowsky also points out that most consumer PCs aren't manipulating tons of data in memory.