Volume production of DDR2 memory chips, the follow-on to double data rate, synchronous dynamic Ram (DDR SDRAM), has begun.
DDR2 memory also draws less power than DDR memory. The memory can transfer more data per second than DDR memory. Servers using this memory, along with high-speed CPUs and faster buses, will be capable of supporting more networked users and running applications faster.
Micron Technology is building DDR2 memory modules up to 4GB in size and shipping them to Intel and to PC manufacturers. Samsung is also manufacturing DDR modules.
Servers need CPU chips, buses and memory modules to run in balance. Recently, memory modules have been slowing down relative to CPU speeds, meaning CPUs are often idle, waiting for the memory to deliver instructions and data.
This effect has been noted with the hyperthreading version of the Pentium 4. Speeding up the memory to improve synchronisation with processors has the effect of removing a hobble on the CPUs, enabling the servers to do more work.
Dean McCarron, a principal analyst at Mercury Research, said that the situation is better with improved memory-CPU speed synchronisation and more bus bandwidth. CPUs can run up to 3GHz or so, with buses in the 500-800MHz area and memory can run at a wide variety of speeds.
Intel is planning top-to-bottom support for the new PCI Express bus in its enterprise chipsets beginning in 2004, and new Intel storage and communications products incorporating PCI Express are expected at the same time. The enterprise chipsets with support for PCI Express technology and DDR2 memory include both four-way and two-way Xeon versions.
Intel-based servers and desktops using the new memory and bus can be expected in the first half of next year.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is also expected to pick up on DDR2 next year, as are a number of other brand-name memory manufacturers and chipset makers.
Micron vice-president of worldwide sales Mike Sadler said, "What we're doing is helping to enable higher performance and lower power consumption in all the computer platforms next year."
Chris Mellor writes for Techworld.com