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Corsair Memory unveiled its first DDR-II memory modules at Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, California, today. The company aims to build momentum with its new Twin2X and XMS2 products by starting to ship them next month.

The first products in Corsair’s newly announced XMS2 family is the Twin2X1024-4300, a matched pair of 512MB 533MHz DDR-II modules. The Twin2X1024-4300 supports JEDEC standard 4-4-4-12 latencies and comes equipped with classic black aluminum heat spreaders. Corsair tests its TwinX and Twin2X memory modules in pairs to ensure correct functionality at specified clock-speeds and latencies. The firm also sells its XMS and XMS2 memory modules separately.

DDR-II memory modules will have 5.25” length and smaller than 1.3” height.

Corsair’s 240-pin DDR-II (or DDR2) memory modules will function at 1.8V supply compared to 2.6V memory voltage for conventional DDR modules. The new XMS2 sticks, as well as other DDR-II products, will utilize FBGA memory chips for better stability, thermal efficiency, enhanced scalability and better overclockability. Additionally, DDR-II components themselves have some micro-architectural changes, such as, Off-Chip Driver calibration (OCD), On-Die Termination (ODT) as well as larger 4-bit prefetch, additive latency, and enhanced registers.

Even though DDR-II memory is fairly more advanced compared to DDR, it is not likely to bring us totally different computing experience already this year. Putting the technological advantages of DDR-II memory aside, right now this type of DRAM can provide the industry quite a limited set of benefits. The list includes such peculiarities as: lower power consumption and heat dissipation, higher density of high-speed chips and higher potential speed (e.g. 533MHz). There are a lot more disadvantages DDR-II brings us: higher latencies and lower performance on mainstream frequencies, higher price, and new types of chip packaging and memory modules PCBs.

Given that price is a very important factor for the majority of PCs sold, DDR-II will not go mainstream until it is as affordable as DDR.

Generally speaking, dual-channel 533MHz DDR-II SDRAM (PC2-4300) memory will not be able to unleash all its potential in typical personal computers, as there are no processors with 1066MHz processor system bus expected to come this year. CPUs with 800MHz PSB have enough bandwidth provided by dual-channel 400MHz DDR (PC3200) systems, for that reason, only overclockers should consider PC2-4300 memory as an option to gain performance on home PCs.

DDR-II may become memory of choice for 2P servers and workstations based on the new Intel Xeon processors with 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus. However, the market of servers, workstations and high-performance desktops is pretty limited compared to the market of mass PCs, therefore, DDR-II will not be very trendy this year.

The Twin2X1024-4300 set as well as XMS2 CM2X512-4300 will be available through resellers worldwide starting in March.


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