Despite the fact the DDR4 memory is already available for the server market and Intel’s Haswell-E platform will have support for it, DDR3 is still alive and kicking, as well as going up in price ever other week. Still, the issue remains that for many professionals and gamers they just can’t possibly cram in enough memory into their tiny ITX-sixed rigs with two tiny DIMM slots and crevices which only a child’s hands can reach. The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has come up with an answer for this in the form of newer, bigger, far more expensive modules.
The new standard is Release 6 of the DDR3 Serial Presence Detect document, which the JEDEC council has been working on jointly with other industry partners for some time. The document describes some new memory timing parameters and proposed new speeds and capacities for memory modules. DDR3 will still be with us for some time, so it’s important that consumers get some kind of choice with regards to memory performance.
According to the document, the JEDEC council expects modules with Release 6 of the DDR3 SPD compatibility to be released later this year for consumers and businesses who need the extra storage.
The interesting bit in the whole document is the new DDR3 SPD standard now allows for modules larger than 32GB in size to be detected by motherboards. Its possible now to have two 64GB DIMMs in your tiny ITX rig for a total of 128GB of system RAM. Who here wants a 96GB RAM drive? This will most likely benefit the server market which has been stuck with 32GB DDR3 modules for quite some time. DDR4 promises modules up to 128GB in size right off the bat, but the issue is that not many hardware vendors are offering processors which have memory controllers capable of working with DDR4 memory.
On the whole, it’s a nice step forward, but it feels a bit late. DDR3 has stayed on the market for eons and was first available in 2007. While Intel and AMD’s Core and Phenom II processors drove forward adoption quite rapidly, Intel hasn’t been pushing memory frequencies on the mobile platform as much. In fact, if you run to any nearby computer stores, most laptops only come with between 2 and 4GB DDR3-1333 of memory. Intel’s Ultrabook specification laid that down to 4GB DDR3-1600 minimum, but it’s been a trying time to get memory standards being pushed forward because Team Blue has a monopoly on the processor market.