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Nowadays the pace of CPUs and platform development, driven by rapidly growing demands for more processing power required for communications and entertainment needs, is very high. Every year the demands are pushed further and older technologies are not considered as efficient enough. A result of this trend is extremely fast technology transition and, as a consequence, disappearance of minor market players. This already happened to CPU and GPU markets, soon it may happen to RAM market as well since next year Intel and major memory companies will start rapid transition to the DDR-II SDRAM memory.

Intel will support DDR-II in desktop, server, workstation, and mobile segments in 2004 by unveiling numerous chipsets and new processors. Leading DRAM memory makers, namely Samsung, Infineon, Micron, Elpida and Hynix, will broadly support the semiconductor giant and will ramp DDR-II mass production throughout the year.

Fore every market segments there are dozens of reasons for transition to DDR-II memory. In desktop market DDR-II will bring more performance and scalability, for servers PC2-3200 (DDR-II SDRAM) memory will address PC3200 power, thermal and capacity issues, but will substantially outperform PC2700 memory currently utilized in majority of high-performance server applications. For mobile computers DDR-II will ensure better performance with lower power, increased battery life, and better thermals and reliability.

Intel and its partners among largest DRAM makers have done a great job and now are ready to transit the industry to the newer type of memory very quickly. In the second quarter next year there will be about 5% of Intel core-logic supporting DDR-II, in the fourth quarter their share among Intel’s chipsets shipments will increase 25% and by the Q2 2005, DDR-II SDRAM-supporting chipsets will account for roughly 50% of Intel’s chipsets. Elpida and other major DRAM suppliers on the planet share Intel’s estimates and believe that by the Q1 2006 the whole standard computing segment will nearly 100% consume DDR-II.

Next year DDR-II SDRAM modules will be available in 400 and 533MHz speeds. Given that Intel will possibly not offer 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus until very late 2004, the widely adopted DDR-II memory will be 400MHz version. 533MHz memory will gain popularity in 2005, I believe, and do not share Samsung’s optimism in regards 75% of its DDR-II shipments in the second half next year to be 533MHz chips. Already in 2006 there will be DDR-II chips at 667 and 800MHz offering even more performance, whereas in the year 2007, Intel and its DRAM friends will begin transition to DDR-III memory at 800, 1066 and 1333MHz frequencies and everything will start once again. 


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