The results we obtained in our today’s test session are pretty ambiguous. The impression DDR3 SDRAM will make on you depends a lot on your initial expectations.
True, on the one hand DDR3 SDRAM cannot take the system performance to another level. The tests showed that the newest DDR2 SDRAM can provide the same level of performance as the currently available DDR3 SDRAM. In fact, the results of our benchmarks indicate an approximate parity between systems equipped with DDR2-1066 SDRAM and DDR3-1333 SDRAM. And since DDR3-1333 SDRAM is not only the fastest memory in the market today, but also the fastest memory that Intel P35 based platforms support, it doesn’t make any sense even for computer enthusiasts who care about every additional percent of extra performance to transfer to DDR3 SDRAM at this time.
Even in overclocked systems DDR3 SDRAM cannot boast the advantages of higher memory bandwidth. Overclocker DDR2 SDRAM with lower latency proves at least as efficient as DDR3. And the benchmark results suggest that this will hardly change until DDR3 SDRAM can overclock to 1600MHz+.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that DDR3 technology suffered a complete fiasco. The main objective of this new standard is to open the door to further increase of the memory frequency without pushing its price up as well. And this goal has been reached. Although the stir around the new product made DDR3 SDRAM extremely expensive at this time, this is a purely marketing phenomenon and cannot be considered a technology drawback.
An important advantage of DDR3 SDRAM is considerably lower power consumption, which will make this memory pretty popular and demanded in the mobile and low-power segment. Moreover, DDR3 technology will let the memory makers increase the capacity of their desktop modules, which is also an important advantage the new technology has to offer.
It is important to remember that DDR3 frequencies will get higher and this memory will become a faster solution than DDR2 SDRAM. In the nearest future, for instance, we expect to see DDR3-1600 SDRAM modules. Although this memory will first appear as overclocker solutions only, because contemporary chipsets cannot use its potential in the default mode. Nevertheless, these memory modules will become very popular among computer enthusiasts, no doubt.
Summing up everything we have just said, we have to admit that we cannot say what type of memory would be preferable today. In the end, it is all about the price, availability, frequency and timings settings that DDR2 and DDR3 solutions can offer us.