Articles: Memory

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X-bit labs: How the chips are selected for the overclocker’s memory modules? What is the sorting procedure?

Paul Jones: You know, with the DRAM industry back in the 1990s, there were many-many fabs, and many different companies that were producing DRAM, because it was a very lucrative industry.  There was a lot of profit in the industry. Unfortunately, from about 2000 on, the industry has been bleeding fairly badly and a lot of the fabs are either redirected or doing something else, or focused on another product line. Now with the fabs in the industry, there is only a few left that are producing DRAM chips and that are suitable for enthusiast specs. We work with every single one of those fabs at the die level and test every single product once they come out with a new revision  on the chip and die levels. To make sure when it comes out with a new spec, a new die or new revision, we test that product to see what type of the clockability it will have. We run it through our variety of tests, and then we work again with Intel, AMD, the motherboard people to ensure that it works for the masses. We are constantly reevaluating and qualifying new products. I think most companies that are strong in the memory field would not state that a specific chip will always be in this particular product. If you are decent in the industry, you should be working with every fab.

X-bit labs: What companies are your primary chip suppliers at this time for the DDR II chips?

Paul Jones: The people that are producing DDR II are Samsung, Micron, Nanya, PowerChip, Elpida, Infineon, ProMos. We work with all of them. There is another company called SMIC that is located out of Shanghai. We also work with them, but I don’t believe they are producing DDR II. We work with them on SDRAM and DDR I.

X-bit labs: What about the PCBs? Where do you purchase the PCBs?

Paul Jones: PCBs are manufactured either out of Taiwan or Korea. These are third-party PCBs. We don’t own a PCB house.

X-bit labs: A lot of overclocker’s memory makers increase the working voltage of their memory modules to be able to offer a broader variety of solutions. This in-house overclocking, so to speak, is a pretty powerful tool when it comes to achieving higher speeds. Does Patriot take advantage of what the voltage variations have to offer?

Paul Jones: We definitely take advantage of the voltage variations to achieve certain timings for our overclocking modules.  Our main goal is to attain the best speeds and timings using the lowest possible voltage setting.  We do this because the voltage settings vary between the various motherboard and chipset manufacturers.  We try to accommodate as many users as possible for each new product that we launch.  The voltage settings also vary depending on which DRAM we are using and at what frequency/timings we are running.  Again, this only applies to our gaming line.  For our Signature Line, which includes server, notebook, and desktop memory, we stick to the JEDEC standards for the voltage settings.

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