DDR3 SDRAM: Revolution or Evolution?

Platforms with DDR3 SDRAM support are already available in the market. So, it is high time we performed a comparative test session of DDR3 SDRAM against DDR2 SDRAM. The main goal of our today’s investigation is to find out what memory technology is more suitable for today’s computer systems, and what prospects each of them has ahead.

by Ilya Gavrichenkov
07/09/2007 | 05:50 PM

The recently announced Intel P35 chipset has already become very popular in the market. The official support of CPUs with 1333MHz system bus and the upcoming Penryn processor family did their part; this chipset has become of great interest to advanced users as well as leading mainboard makers. Over the past few weeks different Intel P35 based mainboards practically flooded the market, offering all sorts of features for every budget.

 

Although we have already tested a few mainboards based on Intel P35 chipset, one of its very interesting features has so far been left out of our discussion. We are talking about DDR3 SDRAM support that this chipset offers in addition to the traditional DDR2 SDRAM. As it always happens with any new product launch, the DDR3 SDRAM modules haven’t been widely available in stores yet, which prevented us from performing a fully fledged testing of the platforms using new memory type. However, today the situation has already changed for the better: you can easily buy corresponding memory modules almost anywhere.

That is why we felt it was the right time to get into details on the new platforms with DDR3 SDRAM support. Especially, since Intel P35 is the first and only transitional Intel chipset (besides its integrated G33 counterpart) that offers both: DDR3 and DDR3 SDRAM support at the same time.

The transition of platforms for Core 2 processor family to DDR3 SDRAM should be regarded as yet another step towards higher integral performance of these systems due to increased data transfer rate between the CPU and the memory subsystem. Although the bandwidth of contemporary dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM is higher than that of the processor bus, even if it works at 1333MHz frequency, Intel engineers believe that there already exists the need for higher memory working frequencies. According to the official specifications, the fastest DDR2 SDRAM compatible with Intel P35 chipset is DDR2-800 SDRAM with 12.8GB/s bandwidth in dual-channel mode. DDR3 SDRAM support adds the opportunity to use 1067MHz memory in contemporary systems thus increasing the peak bandwidth of the memory subsystem in dual-channel mode to 17.1GB/s. The transition to new SDRAM standard causes the memory subsystem latency to increase, however, there is nothing Intel can do about it: DDR2-800 SDRAM is the fastest DDR2 SDRAM meeting JEDEC standards and manufactured in really mass quantities.

However, Intel is not planning to stop there. The next chipset for computer enthusiasts Intel is going to roll out will be X38 that will support even faster DDR3 memory working at 1333MHz – the frequency absolutely unattainable for DDR2 SDRAM.

So, we can say that although there is no real need, Intel still decided to increase the memory subsystem bandwidth on their platforms built around Core 2 processors. Although we have already demonstrated in our previous articles that you can get comparable performance improvement by simply reducing the latencies of the memory subsystem, Intel decided to go towards higher frequencies rather than lower timings. And there is a logical reason for that decision: increasing the working frequencies and shifting to the new DDR3 technology at the same time is much easier for the memory makers. The main purpose of our today’s article is to answer the following question: will the new DDR3 SDRAM with higher working frequency and higher latency provide a performance improvement for Intel P35 based systems compared with the contemporary DDR2 SDRAM.

Let’s find out now!

DDR3 SDRAM: What’s New?

The title of this section of our review suggests that DDR3 SDRAM is not very much different from the previous generation DDR memory in terms of its design and working principles. In fact, it is true: DDR3 SDRAM is a sort of third reincarnation of DDR SDRAM principles. Therefore, we have every right to compare DDR3 and DDR2 SDRAM side by side here. Moreover, this comparison will hardly take a lot of time.

The frequencies of DDR3 memory could be raised beyond those of DDR2 due to doubling of the data prefetch that was moved from the info storage device to the input/output buffer. While DDR2 SDRAM uses 4-bit samples, DDR3 SDRAM uses 8-bit prefetch also known as 8n-prefetch. In other words, DDR3 SDRAM technology implies doubling of the internal bus width between the actual DRAM core and the input/output buffer. As a result, the increase in the efficient data transfer rate provided by DDR3 SDRAM doesn’t require faster operation of the memory core. Only external buffers start working faster. As for the core frequency of the memory chips, it appears 8 times lower than that of the external memory bus and DDR3 buffers (this frequency was 4 times lower than that of the external bus by DDR2).

So, DDR3 memory can almost immediately hit higher actual frequencies than DDR2 SDRAM, without any modifications or improvements of the semiconductor manufacturing process. However, the above described technique also has another side to it: unfortunately, it increases not only memory bandwidth, but also memory latencies. As a result, we shouldn’t always expect DDR3 SDRAM to work faster than DDR2 SDRAM, even if it operates at higher frequencies than DDR2.

The final DDR3 SDRAM specification released by JEDEC recently describes a few modifications of this memory with frequencies from 800 to 1600MHz. The table below shows the major specifications of the memory modifications listed in the spec:

Considering that the latency of widely spread DDR2-800 SDRAM with 4-4-4 timings equals 10ns, we can really question the efficiency of DDR3 SDRAM at this time. It turns out that the new DDR3 can only win due to higher bandwidth that should make up for worse latency values. Unfortunately, the transition to DDR3 SDRAM is a forced measure to some extent. DDR2 has already exhausted its frequency potential completely. Although we can still push it to 1066MHz with some allowances, further frequency increase lowers the production yields dramatically thus increasing the price of the DDR2 SDRAM modules. That is why JEDEC didn’t standardize DDR2 SDRAM with working frequencies exceeding 800MHz, supporting the transition to DDR3 technology.

However, DDR3 SDRAM offers a few other useful improvements that will encourage not only the manufacturers but also the end users to make up their minds in favor of the new technology. Among these advantages I would like to first of all mention lower voltage of the DDR3 SDRAM modules that dropped down to 1.5V. It is 20% lower than the voltage of DDR2 SDRAM modules, which eventually results into almost 30% reduction in power consumption compared with DDR2 memory working at the same clock speeds. More advanced memory chips manufacturing technologies also contribute to this positive effect.

The BGA chip packaging also underwent a few modifications, and now it features more contact pins. This simplifies the chip mounting procedure and increases mechanical robustness of the ready solutions as well as improves signal quality at high frequencies.

They have also introduced some improvements to the DDR3 SDRAM signal protocol, as the memory bus frequency increased significantly. Now they use fly-by topology with on-module signal termination to transfer addresses, management and stabilization commands. It means that the signals are sent to all chips of the memory modules one by one, and not altogether at the same time.

As a result, the data reading/writing algorithms have also changed. DDR3 controller had to successfully recognize and process time shifts on data receipt from the chips generated by fly-by architecture used for commands transfer. This technique is known as read/write leveling.

Taking into account different voltage and protocols of DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM, these two memory types are logically incompatible with one another. Although DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules both have 240 pins, they require different DIMM slots: the “notch” location has changed. That is why you will not be able to install DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs into DDR2 slots and the other way around.


Top - DDR3 SDRAM, bottom - DDR2 SDRAM


Yellow and orange slots – for DDR2 SDRAM, 
green - for
 DDR3 SDRAM

I would like to point out one more thing about DDR3 SDRAM. The industry is not only shifting to DDR3 at this time, but they are also beginning to use 1 and 2Gbit memory chips. So, we can expect that 2GB and even 4GB memory modules to become very widely spread in future.

As for the life span of the DDr3 SDRAM in general, analysts believe that the next generation DDR4 SDRAM should come to replace it in 2011 or so.

So, DDR3 SDRAM should last for a little over 3 years in the high-performance market segment, i.e. pretty much the same as DDR2 SDRAM did.

Testbed Assembly

Mainboard: Asus P5K3 Deluxe

To test our systems with DDR3 SDRAM we needed to get a good mainboard. It would be ideal to find two similar solutions on Intel P35 chipset that would differ from one another only by the type of supported memory. Although there are also hybrid platforms in the market these days that support both, DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM at the same time, such as Gigabyte P35C-DS3R (we are going to offer you a detailed review of this solution later), we decided not to use this mainboard in our today’s test session on purpose. To ensure support of both memory interfaces, they had to make certain BIOS modifications that had not the best effect on the platform performance.

Luckily, we had Asus P5K3 Deluxe mainboard that (together with Asus P5K Deluxe) met all the requirements for such a test session. It is very similar to Asus P5K Deluxe that we have already reviewed before. The only things different are the cooling system on the chipset and support of DDR3 SDRAM.

Another advantage of Asus P5K3 Deluxe was the opportunity to work with the complete list of dividers for memory frequency setting in the mainboard BIOS, independent of the processor bus speed (FSB Strap) selected. As a result, you can clock DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz with the FSB set to 333MHz, which is not one of the officially supported work modes for Intel P35 chipset.

DDR3 SDRAM Modules

Since the launch of Intel P35 chipset and mainboards with DDR3 SDRAM based on it, we managed to collect a few DDR3 SDRAM kits from the leading manufacturers of memory for computer enthusiasts.

Let’s take a closer look at these kits. However, before we start I would like to warn you: all mass production DDR3 memory, even that coming from well-known makers of overclocker solutions, turns out pretty disappointing. The thing is that the maximum frequency mass-production DDR3 memory managed to hit so far is at best 1333MHz with 7-7-7-20 timings, which doesn’t look very impressive considering that you can get your hands on DDR2 SDRAM working at 1250MHz and supporting 5-5-5-18 timings. We hope the situation will get better after the recent launch of SuperTalent DDR3-1600 kits with 7-7-7-18 timings. However, despite SuperTalent’s claims, this memory is not available yet: not only for users, but even for reviewers.

So, we are going to investigate how big of a performance improvement we may get from DDR3 SDRAM memory on Intel Core 2 Duo platforms using DDR3-1333 SDRAM modules. We received three memory kits supporting corresponding working frequencies and consisting of two 1GB DIMMs.

Corsair did a great job on their high-performance DDR2 SDRAM, and this time they provided us with their TWIN3X2048-1333C9DHX kit.

This is the today’s fastest DDR3 memory from Corsair. It is designed to work at 1333MHz, but despite the massive Dual Heat Exchange heat-spreaders of Corsair’s own design, it work with very weak timings of only 9-9-9-24. So, it turns out to be the slowest DDR3-1333 SDRAM kit.

Even overclocking doesn’t help Corsair TWIN3X2048-1333C9DHX. By raising the voltage from the nominal 1.5V to 1.8V we can get this memory to work at 1333MHz only with 8-8-8-22 timings. The maximum frequency with these timings and voltage settings when the modules remained stable equaled 1380MHz.

Luckily, there are a few better options available today. For example, Kingston offers pretty good DDR3-1333 SDRAM - KHX11000D3LLK2/2G.

These modules are designed to work at 1375MHz with 7-7-7-20 timings and 1.7V voltage. The remarkable thing about this top Kingston product is that it is available in numerous stores, which means that this is the memory that can provide the highest performance for DDR3 platforms today.

During overclocking, Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2/2G modules can reach slightly higher frequencies than the specified ones. For example, we raised the voltage to 1.8V and the modules remained pretty stable at 1420MHz with the nominal timings of 7-7-7-20. Unfortunately, further voltage increase would worsen overclocking results. Even setting the timings to less aggressive values will not help here: at 8-8-8-22 Kingston KHX11000D3LLK2/2G can hit 1440MHz, not more than that.

Of course, OCZ Technology, another well-known manufacturer of overclocker DDR3 SDRAM couldn’t stay uninvolved into the competition. They joined the DDR3-1333 club with their DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum Dual Channel kit.

This kit is designed to work at 1333MHz frequency with 7-7-7-20 timings. The recommended voltage setting in this case is 1.8V.

OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum Dual Channel modules are built using the same Elpida chips, as the Kingston kit. Therefore, they behave very similar to Kingston HyperX KHX11000D3LLK2/2G DIMMs during overclocking experiments. DDR3-1333 memory modules from OCZ overclocked to 1410MHz with default timings and to 1440MHz with less aggressive 8-8-8-22 timings. Note that increasing the voltage over the default 1.8V will only lower the overclocking results in this case.

As you see, the currently available DDR3 memory cannot boast any remarkable overclocking potential, although it is being offered by the leading manufacturers of overclocking-friendly DDR2 solutions. As for the price, DDR3-1333 SDRAM kits are much more expensive than slower modules. Therefore, it seems extremely interesting to check out the overclocking potential of slower DDR3-1066 memory as well. Today this memory will be represented by SuperTalent W1066UX2G7 kit.

These DDR3 modules are designed to work at 1067MHz with 7-7-7-15 timings at the nominal voltage of 1.5V.

If you raise the voltage to 1.8V, the potential of these modules can be increased significantly. They will work stably and reliably at 1340MHz with 1.8V voltage and 7-7-7-20 timings. Changing the timings to less aggressive 8-8-8-22 doesn’t have any noticeable effect on the speed: the maximum these modules can hit is 1370MHz. Nevertheless, we can conclude that overclocker DDR3-1066 memory, unlike DDR3-1333, can overclock to the next performance level.

Testing Methodology

Now let’s get to the most interesting part of our review: performance comparison. We will compare the performance of Intel P35 based systems with DDR2 SDRAM and DDR3 SDRAM.

We assembled a few testbeds using the following hardware components:

During our test session we had our memory kits working in different modes: to get the complete list of results we changed the memory frequencies and timings. You should understand, though, that far not all the work modes can be replicated on the memory modules available in the market today. For example, there are very few overclocker DDR2 SDRAM modules that can work at 800MHz with 3-3-3-10 timings. Also, only memory modules built using Micron D9 chips can hit 1066MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings. The same is true for the DDR3 SDRAM work modes, especially those requiring the modules to run at 1333MHz. And 6-7-6-18 timings settings are obviously non-standard for this memory type, but we still included this work mode into our results, because we managed to get Kingston HyperX KHX11000D3LLK2/2G kit to work just fine with these settings, and as I have already said, we selected Kingston as the today’ best and fastest DDR3 memory kit available in the market.

Performance

First of all let’s check out the practical bandwidth and latency of the new DDR3 SDRAM. For our tests we chose Everest Ultimate Edition 4.00 utility.

The first the very first tests of the read speed from the memory reveals very interesting results. Namely, we see that DDR2 SDRAM shouldn’t be retired just yet. Thanks to lower latency, it shows better results not only when it is running at the same frequency as DDR3 SDRAM, but can also compete with DDR3 SDRAM working at “one step higher” frequency. Thus, DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings shows comparable read speed as DDR3-1066 with 8-8-8-22 timings, and DDR2-1066 with 5-5-5-15 timings come neck and neck with DDR3-1333 with 9-9-9-24 timings. So, we can conclude that high latency of DDR3 SDRAM has certain negative effect on streaming operations. That is why only the fastest DDR3-1333 in the undocumented work mode with 6-7-6-18 timings can actually demonstrate an indisputable advantage over DDR2 SDRAM.

The write speed to the memory is limited by the practical bandwidth of the processor bus that is why the results of the second Everest test cannot give us any new food for thought.

During copy speed tests, the previous-generation DDR2 shows even more impressive results than during read speed tests. DDR2-1066 with 5-5-5-15 timings is not the only one that can compete successfully with DDR3-1333 with 7-7-7-18 timings. Even DDR2-800 with 3-3-3-10 is fast enough to catch up. So, it looks like high latencies have greater effect on the copy speed than on the read speed.

The last synthetic memory subsystem benchmark aimed at revealing practical latency gives us no reason to be optimistic about the new DDR3 SDRAM. It is evident that from performance prospective DDR3-800 SDRAM doesn’t make any sense at all, as it yields to any DDR2-800 and DDR2-1066 memory. As for DDR3-1066, the only memory that may be of interest to computer enthusiasts is the one with the lowest timings. Otherwise, DDR3 SDRAM platforms will stand no chance in the performance challenge.

However, these are the conclusions we made judging only by the results of the memory subsystem performance. Now we still have to check out complex benchmarks and real applications to get a complete picture.

SuperPi computational test shows that even DDR3-1333 cannot outperform DDR2-1066 SDRAM. There is only one thing I can say in favor of the new generation memory: the victorious DDR2-1067 with 4-4-4-12 timings is indeed an overclocker solution and is pretty expensive. DDR3 SDRAM should solve this problem. Memory modules working at 1333MHz frequency (and later at 1600MHz) are pretty standard solutions from JEDEC specification prospective. In other words, they should eventually become cheaper than high-speed DDR2 SDRAM thus offering good performance at a lower price.

There is nothing new on this chart showing PCMark05 results. The numbers do not show any advantages of the new generation memory. DDR3-1333 with 7-7-7-18 timings can only perform as fast as relatively ordinary DDR2-1066 with 5-5-5-15 timings. As for the DDR3-1066, the systems using it perform as fast as those with DDR2-800 SDRAM. And the only actual advantage of DDR3-800 SDRAM seems to be its lower power consumption. Performance is definitely not among its strong points.

Performance in 3DMark06 hardly depends on the memory subsystem settings. Nevertheless, we can see all the above described tendencies projected on the results of this benchmark, too.

I doubt that you are positively surprised with the results demonstrated by platforms with different memory types in gaming applications. DDR3 SDRAM doesn’t have any revolutionary effect – it is just another evolutionary step in memory technology, so we shouldn’t really expect it to bring any impressive performance bursts. Moreover, the system with DDR3 SDRAM runs slower than the one with DDR2 SDRAM even if both memory types work at the same frequency and with the same timings. However, this lag is not very big: if we compare the results of DDR2-800 and DDR3-800 with 5-5-5 timings, the difference will be less than 1%.

As for the faster DDR3 SDRAM models, DDR3-1333 with 7-7-7-18 timings can only outperform DDR2-1066 with 5-5-5-15 timings, but will still lose to DDR2-1066 with 4-4-4-12 timings. DDR3-1066 can only compete with DDR2-800 with not the best latency settings of 4-4-4-12.

The benchmark created using the oldest strategy game shows the same results as the contemporary 3D games we have just discussed.

The tests in real applications are critical to the memory subsystem performance, however, they show quite familiar situation with no superiority of DDR3 SDRAM over the previous generation memory type. I would only like to stress the fact that you shouldn’t dramatize the effect of the memory speed on the overall platform performance. The performance difference between the platforms using the slowest DDR3-800 and the fastest DDR3-1333 SDRAM is 5% at the most in computational tasks and office applications and maximum 10% in games.

The benchmark built into WinRAR archiving tool gives DDR3 SDRAM a break. Here we can finally see the advantages of increased DDR3-1333 SDRAM bandwidth. However, there are no real applications that would react the same way to increased bandwidth.

Overclocking

I have to admit that theoretically it would be too optimistic to expect a significant performance boost from the transition to DDR3 SDRAM. As we know, the bandwidth of dual-channel DDR2-800 SDRAM is 20% higher than the front side bus bandwidth of the top Core 2 Duo processors, and the bandwidth of DDR2-1066 – 60% higher. That is why the memory is evidently not the bottleneck of contemporary systems, even if the CPU supports 1333MHz bus.

However, we shouldn’t forget that the bus in some systems works at much higher frequency than the default 1333MHz. These are overclocker platforms, where the bus frequency increase is the major tool for efficient processor overclocking. Maybe these are the systems where the new memory with higher bandwidth can really show its best? To answer this question we decided to perform some additional tests of the high-speed DDR3 SDRAM kits in an overclocker platform.

For this test session we took Core 2 Duo processor overclocked to 3.8GHz. New CPUs on G0 core stepping can easily hit this frequency. Although we selected a CPU with 9x clock frequency multiplier for our tests, 3.8GHz frequency was set as 8x475MHz in order to achieve higher bus bandwidth. To ensure that the CPU was running stably we raised its Vcore to 1.5V.

Overclocking like that in a system equipped with DDR2 SDRAM leaves the user two alternatives: you can either clock the memory synchronously at 950MHz, or use 5:6 or 4:5 divider and get the system memory to work at 1140MHz or 1188MHz. We decided to check out both cases and tests the system with DDR2-950 and 4-4-4-12 timings and as DDR2-1188 with 5-5-5-15 timings.

The next divider – 2:3 – gives us 1425MHz on the memory bus, which is unattainable for the existing DDR2 SDRAM. However, overclocker DDR3 SDRAM, such as Kingston HyperX KHX11000D3LLK2/2G and OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum Dual Channel, can work just fine at this speed. We used this opportunity for our performance comparison between DDR2 and DDR3-1425 SDRAM with 6-7-6-18 timings.

This is the best you can get from currently available DDR3 SDRAM. The nest divider of 5:8 requires the memory to work at 1520MHz, however, the existing modules on Elpida chips cannot do that even with the least aggressive timing settings available.

So, let’s start with synthetic benchmarks as usual.

Unfortunately, DDR3 overclocking doesn’t change the overall tendency that we have already seen in the previous test session. DDR3-1425 shows higher bandwidth than DDR2-950, but lower than DDR2-1188. When it comes to latencies, the situation gets even worse: overclocker DDR2 SDRAM leaves DDR3 absolutely no chances.

So, we do not expect DDR3 SDRAM to work wonders in complex benchmarks and real applications either.

Despite the frustrating results our DDR3-1425 system showed in Everest, it still manages to outperform similar platforms with DDR2 SDRAM in PCMark05 and CPU subtests of 3DMark06 benchmarking suite. However, it is more of an exception, than a rule.

For example, in most gaming tests our overclocker platform with DDR3 SDRAM runs almost as fast as a similar platform with DDR2-950, but nevertheless loses dramatically to a platform with DDR2-1188.

So, it appears that high memory bandwidth is not that important for overclocked platforms. In other words, DDR3 SDRAM will hardly be able to change overclockers’ preferences. They mostly value the modules’ ability to operate synchronously with the FSB in abroad frequency range, because contemporary chipsets do not support any dividers that could lower the memory frequency. The hunt for higher SDRAM frequency results into such tiny performance improvement that can be neglected altogether. No wonder. Dual-channel memory subsystem working at the FSB frequency delivers twice the bandwidth, which turns out more than enough for any practical tasks.

Summing up I would like to conclude that the new DDR3 didn’t really show off during overclocking. Now we will just wait for faster DDR3 modifications to come out, because then the situation may change. So stay tuned!

Power Consumption

DDR3 SDRAM failed to show its advantages in our performance tests. At least at this time, when the fastest DDR3 SDRAM modules available work at 1333MHz. However, there is another aspect that makes DDR3 indisputably better than the previous generation DDR2. It is the power consumption that turns out lower in systems with DDR3 SDRAM. It is achieved at least due to lower memory modules voltage.

To check this statement we decided to measure the power consumption of platforms equipped with different types of memory. And for the sake of pure experiment we decided to use the same mainboard for both platforms: Gigabyte P35C-DS3R that supports both: DDR2 and DDR3 SDRAM. Other than that the testbed configuration remained the same as before.

To load the memory subsystem during our power consumption test session we used SP2004/ORTHOS utility running in Blend mode. All CPU power-saving technologies were enabled.

I don’t think any comments are necessary in this case. DDR3 SDRAM is really more economical than DDR2. At the same operational frequency it consumes 6W less power in burn and 2W less power in idle mode. Although these may seem like pretty insignificant numbers against the background of the entire system power consumption, we have to admit that it is very cool to be able to save so much power by simply replacing the memory modules.

Conclusion

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.