KarbosGuide.com. Module 2e5


The contents:

  • PC2100 RAM
  • Intel not allowed
  • Comparing bandwidth
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    A very interesting RAM type is the DDR RAM, which is expected to hit the market in 2001.

    DDR stands here for Double Data Rate. It is a technology that transmits data on both sides of a tact signal.

    This way the performance has been doubled; a 133 MHz SDRAM chip can very easy become altered to a 266 MHz DDR chip:

    DDR doubles up the data transmission using both sides of a clock signal

    It should be pretty easy for the market to change for DDR RAM. The modules look like and operate quite similar to existing SDRAMs. We just need new chipsets to start the migration.

    However, the modules hold 16 pins more than SDRAM do, so they do not fit into the same sockets.


    The Taiwanese company VIA, which produces chip sets and CPUs and who are fighting Intel, is fully supporting the DDR RAM strategy. Soon we shall see 266 MHz moduls (being "overclocked"133 MHz SDRAM modules).The 266 MHz modules reaches a 2.1 GB/sec bandwidth. Hence they are to be sold as PC2100 RAM.

    Other terms used are:

  • DDR200 (200 MHz)
  • DDR266 (266 MHz)
  • DDR333 (333 MHz)

    VIA expects DDR to be used in all segments of the pc market. Intel, who is behind the Rambus technology, only expects to use DDR in large servers, where you find several Gigabytes of RAM installed, and where RAM price really matters.

    No Intel here

    Intel is dedicated to the Rambus technology. In the summer 2000 it was revealed that Intel has comitted itself to the RAMBUS technology so they cannot implement DDR! This goes for all future desktop PCs until 2003, according to their agreement with Rambus Inc. Only the 64 bit server Itanium processor and it succesors Foster and McKinley are using DDR RAM.

    We hope that Intel will change their strategy. We expect DDR-SDRAM to be cheaper than Rambus RAM for quite some time; yet it should give the same performance. Rambus represents a sophisticated technology, but with prices 5 times higher it is not a low-end product. Intel produces great chipsets for desktop PCs like i815E, and it would be sad if they abandoned this market. We want Intel and PC2100!

    Reports in the summer 2000 told that Intel has licensed VIA to develop DDR-enabled chip sets for Pentium 4.

    Evolutionary changes of design

    Where RDRAM requires completely new production plants, DDR represents an evolutionary progress. The chip manufactures may re-use their SDRAM fabs for the production without many problems.

    Hence it seems quite natural and in tune with the previous changes in RAM technology that we use the DDR standard for a couple of years. Before Rambus (or something even better) enters the market.

    Comparing bandwidth

    Below you see the theoretical bandwidts of different RAM types. However, SDRAM does not perform as good as the figures show. This is due to latencies; the CPU and other units cannot read the data at these speeds; they have to wait some clock circles in between each reading before the data transfers start. The same goes for DDR RAM.

    RAM type Theoretical max. bandwidth
    SDRAM 100 MHz 100 MHz X 64 bit= 800 MB/sec
    SDRAM 133 MHz 133 MHz X 64 bit= 1064 MB/sec
    DDRAM 200 MHz (PC1600) 2 X 100 MHz X 64 bit= 1600 MB/sec
    DDRAM 266 MHz (PC2100) 2 X 133 MHz X 64 bit= 2128 MB/sec
    DDRAM 366 MHz (PC2600) 2 X 166 MHz X 64 bit= 2656 MB/sec
    RDRAM 600 MHz 600 MHz X 16 bit= 1200 MB/sec
    RDRAM 700 MHz 700 MHz X 16 bit= 1400 MB/sec
    RDRAM 800 MHz 800 MHz X 16 bit= 1600 MB/sec


    A new version of DDR RAM is scheduled for 2003. Using another technique, it should be possible to double the performance!

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    Learn more

    Read module 5a about expansion cards, where we evaluate the I/O buses from the port side.

    Read module 5b about AGP and module 5c about Firewire.

    Read module 7a about monitors, and 7b on graphics card.

    Read module 7c about sound cards, and 7d on digital sound and music.

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