There’s possibly nothing more confusing than trying to buy a new SDHC card. Do you buy Class 2 or Class 6. Do you care about the “X” rating and should you pay for spring for a premium card? Frankly, even geeks can get confused when faced with a selection of 14 different SDHC cards of varying sizes and ratings – none of which readily make sense. Fear not, we waded through the specs and grabbed a selection of cards for testing to see what really matters.
Showing AMD owners some love, Corsair adds to its Dominator series with the Dominator GT, a line of "ultra-high performance" DDR3 kits the company says have been designed specifically for Phenom II-based platforms using socket AM3 motherboards.
"The new Dominator GT family for platforms with AM3-based AMD Phenom II processors delivers even greater levels of performance, as well as enhanced cooling options, making it the perfect memory for anyone looking for the fastest possible performance from their AM3 AMD Phenom II-based system," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair.
The new 4GB (2x2GB) Dominator GT kit races along at 1600MHz with 6-6-6-18 latency settings and a 1T command rate. It also supports AMD's Black Edition Memory Profiles (B.E.M.P.), which allows for the aggressive latency settings to be automatically configured in Windows using the AMD OverDrive software utility.
Corsair indicated it would later add to the Dominator GT line by "offering very limited quantities of hand-screen, hand-tuned, extreme performance modules in both lower speed grades and latencies."
It's hard to imagine anyone being stoked about losing $611 million in a quarter, unless you're part of a group of DRAM makers who were expecting to lose much more.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Taiwan's major DRAM chip makers -- Inotera Memories, Nanya Technology, Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), and ProMOS Technologies -- will post combined losses of more than NT$20 billion, or roughly $611 million USD, for the second quarter of 2009. As bad as that sounds, market watchers were anticipating losses adding up to NT$30.7 billion, or about $938 million USD.
And it hasn't been all losses for memory chip makers. Both A-Data Technology and Transcend Information continue to see profits for the second quarter, perhaps indicating that the worst might finally be over.
Back in February of this year, Samsung developed and validated its first 40nm DRAM chip, and now five months later, the chip maker announced it has begun mass producing 2Gb DDR3 using the smaller manufacturing process.
Samsung says the move to 40nm will provide around a 60 percent increase in production capacity over a 50nm process, and it won't all be relegated to the server market, according to news and rumor site DigiTimes. In addition to 16GB, 8GB, and 4GB RDIMMs for servers, Samsung will use the 40nm manufacturing process to build UDIMMs (unregistered in-line memory modules) for workstatios, desktops, and notebooks of up to 4GB.
The energy efficient chips support a data rate of up to 1.6Gbps at just 1.35V, double that of an 800Mbps 1Gb-based dual-die package.
Another DRAM patent lawsuit has been filed, and not by Rambus. Instead, a Canadian company alleges IBM has breached a number of DRAM-related patents, which include 6,608,703, 7,038,937, 6,680,654, 6,69,448, and 7,486,580.
Each patent relates to elements of DRAM technology, and according to Mosaid, the company which filed the lawsuit, IBM breached every single one by making and selling DRAM mircroprocessor and ASIC products which allegedly use the inventions.
To date, Mosaid's portfolio contains more than 850 patents and a long list of licensees for its DRAM and embedded memory patents. Some of these licensees include Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Oki, Panasonic, Winbond, Sony, Samsung, Hynix, TSMC, Infineon, ProMOS, Powerchip, and Micron.
Mosaid said it filed the lawsuit when talks with IBM broke down.
Good news for storage buffs - Micron today said it has begun mass producing 34nm flash memory products, resulting in 16Gb (gigabit) and 32Gb NAND chips that will push high end storage capacities to new levels.
"Our industry-leading NAND products are opening new possibilities for some of the world's most popular consumer electronic devices," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's memory group. "With our new 16- and 32Gb NAND chips in mass production, we are enabling customers to design cost-effective, high-capacity storage in their small-form factor products, using less space and fewer die."
Micron says its 32Gb MLC NAND chip is 17 percent smaller than its first -generation 32Gb chip, and that both new chips offer transfer speeds of up to 200MB/s.
As a result of the new product, mainstream SDHC cards may double in capacity from 4-8GB to 8-16GB, with 64GB or more leading the high-end market.
Patriot Memory has buddied up with AMD to release its first co-branded Gamer Series memory kit, the AMD Black Edition Ready DDR3 G Series.
"Platforms featuring the latest socket AM3 for AMD processors, including the AMD Phenom II processor family, takes full advantage of the new Patriot Gamer Series memory," said Leslie Sobon, VP of Product Marketing, AMD. "Combined with AMD OverDrive software version 3.0.2, users can experience a state-of-the-art, real time over-clocking utility that allows unprecedented control over their AMD processor / chipset and memory to help push the performance threshold to it peak limits."
Marketing jargon aside, the kits come in both DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1333 frequencies in Low Latency (9-9-9-24) and Enhanced Latency (7-7-7-20) form. Voltage requirements vary by kit, ranging from 1.5V (DDR3-1333 Low Latency) to 1.9V (DDR3-1600 Enhanced Low Latency).
Much to the chagrin of memory makers (and delight of consumers), DRAM contract prices have remained static in the second half of June, but that's getting ready to change. Memory makers expect supply to tighten up in July as more orders continue to come in following stronger demand from PC makers.
Looking longer term, industry sources indicate contract prices for DRAM chips have started showing signs of a rebound and should continue to improve for the rest of the year. Furthermore, the price gap between branded finished memory chips and eTT (effective tested) chips is expected to widen significantly in the second half of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
If you've been putting off that memory upgrade, now might be a good time to pull the trigger.
DRAM contract prices have refused to budge during the second half of June, according to DRAMeXchange. The first half had witnessed an increase in contract prices and chip suppliers, encouraged by the token recovery, were planning to increase prices.
Although analysts expected DDR3 contract prices to rise on the back of increased demand resulting from the launch of ultra-thin notebooks, DDR3 prices have remained stagnant. DDR2 contract prices have remained static just as anticipated.
The contact prices for 2GB DDR3 and 2GB DDR2 chips have averaged $23 and $21.50, respectively, in the second half of June. On the other hand, the contract prices for 1GB DDR3 and 1GB DDR2 chips are $1.25 and $1.16, respectively.
Zotac, a relative newcomer to the videocard market, has doubled up the amount of GDDR3 memory found on most GTX 275 videocards to 1792MB. Sparkle and EVGA are the only other two GPU partners to pack the same amount of memory on the GTX 275.
"We try to deliver the best performance value for gamers. With the new Zotac GeForce GTX 275 1792MB, we've managed to achieve a balance of performance and value for those that demand more video memory for gaming at extreme HD resolutions," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International.
Additional memory aside, Zotac's GTX 275 follows closely Nvidia's reference specification, with core, shader, and memory clockspeeds checking in at a 633MHz, 1404MHz, and 2268MHz, respectively, 240 stream processors, and a 448-bit memory interface.