With Intel's Core i7 launch now less than a month away, several memory vendors are readying three-packs of RAM in anticipation of the new platform's triple-channel memory support. Companies like Corsair, OCZ, and G.Skill have all jumped on board, but Kingston looks to leapfrog to the front of the pack as the first, and so far only company to release triple-channel memory clocked at 2GHz.
"Kingston is excited to bring the fastest DDR3 triple-channel memory products to market as we are the first to deliver 2000MHz gaming kits of three with Intel's reduced voltage," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager at Kingston. "All of our triple-channel kits can be overclocked manually or by using XMP-ready profiles."
Kingston's triple channel memory kits will run the gamut from the aforementioned 2GHz enthusiast HyperX range all the way down to the company's budget ValueRAM lineup:
With rumors swirling of performance DDR3 memory not playing nice with Core i7 platforms due to voltage requirements, it's not a bad idea to wait for specifically compatible kits to emerge before upgrading your RAM. In addition to getting the voltage right, upcoming triple-channel kits will ship with three sticks of RAM to take advantage of the new architecture.
First out of the gate with a line of triple-channel kits is Corsair, who today announced no less than six high performance kits designed for Core i7. These include:
6GB kit 1866MHz Dominator with Airflow fan (TR3X6G1866C9DF - $475
3GB kit 1866MHz Dominator with Airflow fan (TR3X3G1866C9DF) - $250
6GB kit 1600MHz Dominator (TR3X6G1600C8D) - $300
3GB kit 1600MHz Dominator (TR3X3G1600C8D) - $175
6GB kit 1333MHz (TR3X6G1333C9) - $230
3GB kit 1333MHz (TR3X3G1333C9) - $120
Latency timings and voltage information is still trickling out for many of the kits. Corsair's press release indicates the kits are available now, though we've been unable to spot them in the wild. We imagine the usual culprits (Newegg, ZipZoomFly, TigerDirect, etc.) will show stock very soon.
Building a capable PC has turned into a stupid-cheap affair as components continue to fall in price. This is helped in large part by slumping DRAM pricing, which has yet to recover no matter how much DRAM makers would like it to. And it doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.
According to Frank Huang, chairman of Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), memory chip prices will continue to sag so long as the economy struggles, and isn't expected to start an upward swing until at least the second half 2009. Huang pointed out that DRAM prices have already dropped close to cost, forcing manufacturers to cut production. But despite a 20 percent production decrease by the end of the year, the effects on the market won't be seen until December, which will fall well shy of a rebound in DRAM pricing.
Take advantage of the low prices while you can, but if Huang's assessment proves correct, you needn't feel rushed.
Intel claims that the X25E can increase the performance of servers, workstations, and storage systems by 100 times over hard drives, if measured in terms of Input/Output per Second (IOPS).
The 32GB SSD, which Intel claims can reduce energy costs by five times, boasts of 35,000 read IOPS and 3,300 write IOPS. The official press release pegged the maximum read speed at 250 MB/s and maximum write speeds at 170 MB/s respectively.
The 32GB version is out now and carries a price tag of $695. The production of the 64GB version will begin in first quarter of 2009.
Come November 19th, Microsoft will kick off its new 'Xbox Experience,' and with it some tantalizing changes to your console's dashboard. One of the more anticipated features includes the ability for Netflix subscribers to stream the online rental service's downloadable catalog straight to the Xbox 360 console for easy viewing on that living room television set. Customized avatars and a party chat feature are just some of the other enhancements that will flesh out the revamped dashboard.
That's great for 360 owners who have the requisite storage space (128MB minimum) to accommodate the update, but Microsoft has unveiled a new memory upgrade program that will keep Core and Arcade owners from being left out in the cold. Impressively, Microsoft is handing out free 512MB memory units to Core owners with the option of picking up a refurbished 20GB hard drive for $20. For $10 more, Arcade owners get the same 20GB hard drive plus a three-month membership to Xbox Live. Not a bad deal for either party.
To check if you're eligible, you'll need your console's 12-digit serial number and 12-digit ID handy, both of which can be found in the Dashboard's System Information area.
Cheap memory prices are taking a toll on chip manufacturers, with Micron last week reporting a $344 million fourth quarter loss, the seventh quarter in a row the company has been in the red. The fallout of another quarterly loss was to fall on the shoulders of executives, who Micron said would see a 20 percent pay cut. Now it appears it won't be enough.
In addition to the high level pay cuts, Micron now says it plans to reduce its global workforce by about 15 percent. The job reduction is part of a restructuring plan and will be rolled out over the next two years with most of the cuts taking place in Boise, Idaho.
"The combination of declining customer demand and product oversupply in the marketplace has driven selling prices for NAND flash memory significantly below manufacturing costs," Micron said in a statement.
Because of this, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), which is a joint venture between Micron and Intel, will stop producing NAND flash memory from Micron's Boise facility, a move that will reduce IMFT's flash production by about 35,000 wafers per month.
Only two companies - Crucial and Corsair - offer system RAM outfitted with activity-indicating LEDs, and of those two, Crucial becomes to the first to port the light show over to DDR3 modules. The kit in question is the Ballistix Tracer PC3-10600, and like previous Tracer models, the DDR3 version sports red and green LEDs running along the top in between the black aluminum heatspreaders.
The new kit needs 1.8V to run at its default 1,333MHz frequency with 6-6-6-20 timings. Normally that wouldn't be cause for concern, but as we learned yesterday, Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform may not play nice with performance memory requiring more than 1.65V and could actually damage the processor. Following the press release of Crucial's new modules, TomsHardware got in touch with Lexar regarding future compatibility, who had this to say:
“We’re working closely with Intel and other motherboard manufacturers,” said the Lexar spokesperson, “to ensure we have Crucial memory products that support the upcoming platforms and technology. We haven’t finalized our products to date, so we’re not able to share specific product details at this point in time. We’re confident we’ll have Crucial products that support these new, upcoming platforms.”
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.
It's hard to imagine Pretec's newly announced 64GB CompactFlash as being small, but the company has done exactly that by concurrently releasing a 100GB CF card. All that storage doesn't come at a big expense to performance either, with the company claiming a 35MB/s access speed for the 233X CF.
Pretec also announced super high speed 333X 32GB and 50GB CF cards, with each one capable of running up to 50MB/s. Combined with the monstrous 100GB CF card, Pretec can now boast having both the highest capacity and fastest CompactFlash cards on the market.
On a side note, Pretec says it's Q-SATA technology enables users to combine up to four 64GB CF cards configured as a 256GB SATA SSD, a luxury that would run just shy of $1,600.
Much less expensive (but still spendy), the 233X 64GB and 333X 32GB CF cards will carry an MSRP of $399 and $630. We're afraid to ask how much the 100GB model will run, and at least thus far, Pretec is afraid to tell.