DDR3 memory has finally made its way into the PC market, this thanks to the big push by Intel which is rather a surprise to us all considering the complete resentment for DDR memory technology when it first made its way to market.
For those of you who have been living outside the radar, back when Intel Pentium 3 was still around Intel made a deal with the devil so to speak, that being a company by the name of Rambus. Intel would use only RDRAM memory on their i820 chipsets for the new Coppermine; a deal was struck that really limited Intel, allowing AMD to get a good grip on the market.
When RDRAM made its debut, it was slow, had to be installed in pairs like old SIMM memory modules of the old Socket 7 days and was also extremely expensive compared to SDRAM. Why was this you ask? Extremely low yields and licensing costs from Rambus for companies to make RDRAM was what pushed RIMM prices sky high, this opening the door for AMD and the JEDEC to really start the fire that to this day still burns strong.
Using the same parallel architecture that SDRAM brought forth, the new DDR standard used a trick that AMD was using on its Athlon Front Side Bus, sending data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock cycle rather than just the falling edge that SDRAM used. The result was double the data being received and sent per clock cycle; rather than only transmitting 1GB/s of data, DDR was able to transmit 2.1GB/s per clock cycle, a dramatic improvement. Then came the big hit, Dual Channel DDR. This increased the bandwidth again but using two identical size memory modules and pairing them into a 128-bit bus, this allowing for double the data rate again, taking it from 2.1GB/s to over 4GB/s.
Since then we have seen several speed increases. When DDR topped out at 400MHz we saw DDR2 memory make its debut, this added new technologies to increase speed along with lower voltage requirements and the same Dual Channel Status. Now the torch has been passed to DDR3, and while still in its infancy it's gained the big blue giant's approval, and even some modifications.
Intel has brought to the DDR3 memory table what it likes to call Extreme Memory Profile, or XMP for short. What is it and how does it work? Today we find out with our first XMP memory modules from OCZ Technology.