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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory
Written by Olin Coles   
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Table of Contents: Page Index
High-Speed DDR3 Review Series Performance
DDR3: Testing in Progress...
RAM Testing Methodology
Forward Thoughts

DDR3 Review Series

Over the course of the next few weeks, Benchmark Reviews will be releasing nearly a dozen reviews covering nearly every speed of DDR3 make by almost every memory manufacturer on the market. This article introduces the technology, and offers a glimpse at what we've secured for testing. And while we know that DDR3 is not for everyone, this series will certainly disprove the early failures and possibly convince you why DDR3 should already be a part of your computer system.


Benchmark Reviews has been keeping very close tabs on the system memory industry lately, and it should not surprise you to learn that we have uncovered some fierce competition between manufacturers. Ever since Intel released their 3 series northbridge, which presently includes the favored P35 and X38 chipsets, most people believed that DDR2 would have the wind taken from its sails so that DDR3 could make waves. With the chipset supporting two different memory standards, the decision was ultimately left up to the consumer.


This was meant with the best intentions, but as DDR3 was released to the public it didn't take long for people to realize it was still too immature to compete against the more refined DDR2 in regards to high-end performance. DDR3 initially fell short of enthusiast expectations, and motherboard manufacturers collectively surrendered and kept DDR2 as the standard in nearly all of their products. For a short period of time after the P35 norhtbridge launched this put the weight of the world back on the shoulders of DDR2.


But now manufacturers have tooled up for long-term DDR3 production, there are only a few names remaining on the shrinking list which are still releasing high-performance system memory for the DDR2 platform. In addition, Intel is preparing for their upcoming launch of 4 series northbridge chipsets, to include the much anticipated P45 and X48 to take full advantage of Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP), an exclusive set of SPD (Serial Presence Detect) settings that work like a built-in overclocking tool. This news means that those initial DDR3 kits may as well be called generation one or some other name denoting obsolete equipment, because today Benchmark Reviews is revealing the new dawn of high-performance DDR3 kits. Our mega-comparison review will feature all speeds of PC3 memory, from the outrageous XMP-enhanced 1866MHz DDR3 to the more common 1066MHz, and everything in-between.


The driving minds over at the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) are primarily to blame. You see, they are responsible for compiling the standards for memory speeds and settings, and motherboard and memory manufacturers usually go by their recommendations. But the caveat is that the speed is an open foot race, and he (or she) with the most bandwidth wins. But not everyone will be able to participate and receive the benefits of this fierce competition.

Presently the Intel 3-series family of chipsets already offers support for the necessary memory multipliers; which are necessary to transition high-speed DDR3 into the mainstream. Unless you are part of that slim group of hardware enthusiasts using a tier-one system from Dell, HP/Compaq, Gateway, or Acer, you will be able to simply set your motherboard to run the memory at the given speed, such as PC3-12800/DDR3-1600 for example.

EDITORS NOTE: Benchmark Reviews has also published the article DDR3 RAM: System Memory Technology Explained


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