DDR SDRAM has been the biggest savior for the Intel Pentium 4 platform. It has taken it from a status of "avoid like the plague" to one of total acceptance. During the Pentium 4's early life, Intel had a major hard time convincing its OEM and retail customers to purchase a Pentium 4 system simply because of expensive processors and not to mention an expensive and rather lacklustre RAM imitative called RDRAM.
Licence agreements with Rambus put Intel on the back foot with DDR, as they had agreed to support the RDRAM series memory on their I850 Pentium 4 chipsets. This caused much uproar, as the price/performance or RDRAM was totally off the scales - nobody wanted to touch it with a 10 meter cattle prod. When these licensing agreements were over, Intel flooded the market with the I845x series chipsets. These all supported single channel DDR memory.
Dual Channel DDR was the only way to satisfy the bandwidth hungry Pentium 4 processor, as its bandwidth of upwards of 4.2GB/s just couldn't be satisfied with a 2.7GB/s of DDR-333 memory.
Now DDR has reached its maximum frequencies of around the 466MHz mark, and even then extra voltage is required in order to reach these speeds, and with the instability of some modules, it has become apparent that DDR is now at the end of the speed highway. It's now time for something else to take over that is somewhat faster, but not all that different that is causes the same performance problems RDRAM once did. Enter DDR-2.
Today we pit DDR-400, the fastest JEDEC standard memory against the DDR-2 533MHz, the currently fastest DDR-2 JEDEC standard to see just what a system based on this memory can actually do.
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