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DDR vs. DDR-2 - What are we to make of it all?

By: Cameron Johnson | DDR-2 Memory in RAM | Posted: Oct 4, 2004 4:00 am

The Modules


DDR-2, while not as fast on the uptake as DDR was, is starting to make its mark on the industry. While having one big partner behind you, it doesn't always guarantee an instant audience. DDR only had VIA on its side when it started and it wasn't really till Intel and SiS took the DDR bandwagon that sales of DDR memory really hit the roof - the same can be projected for DDR-2. Intel may be behind DDR-2 all the way, but with AMD sticking to DDR for the time being, it might face a slightly less than stellar sales margin. With that said, there are already a few modules on the market, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on some Mushkin DDR-2 modules rated for 533MHz.



Mushkin packs its DDR-2 in a Dual Channel pack, like it has done for its DDR memory. DDR-2 is set for mostly 128-bit interface, and since the modules haven't been designed for 128-bit natively, two modules are required to get the best out of the system. This kit we received was a 1GB pack using 2 x 512MB DDR-2 DIMM modules.



Outside the package we get a look at the modules themselves. With the new package technology DDR-2 uses, it isn't necessary for DDR-2 modules to need any kind of external cooling for modules rated to 1GHz and beyond, however, Mushkin knows where this memory is going - overclocked systems - where extra voltage gives extra heat, so the added heatspreader is quite welcomed.



With the heatspreader removed we get a look at the RAM modules themselves. Compared to existing BGA memory like video card and Kingmax's TinyBGA, it is somewhat smaller due to a reduction in die size, despite having a dual core system, it comes out smaller in size. The chips themselves are suppled by Micron who does a lot of the wafers for many memory companies out there (you would be surprised how much Micron is involved in a lot of memory companies).


Mushkin has set this modules timing system to the JEDEC recommendations for DDR-2 at 533MHz, these are 4-4-4-12, somewhat higher than that of the DDR modules we have seen, though DDR-2 trades off latencies for extra speed and bandwidth, which is where DDR-2 will take over from DDR when 1GHz modules hit the market.


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