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Desi Rhoden, chairman of the JC-42 Memory Committee at JEDEC, said in an interview with a Taiwanese web-site that DDR2 memory will continue performance scaling even beyond 800MHz, towards over 1GHz, whereas next-generation DDR3 SDRAM standard will support clock-rates of over 1.5GHz.

DDR2 to Reach 1066MHz "Officially"

“DDR2-800 is on its way and will become widespread, especially with the shift in DRAM technology to 90nm. The timeframe is mostly driven by fab timing and the availability of controllers and systems to support DDR2-800, which will possibly arrive at around the end of 2005 or beginning of 2006. The next speed grade will likely be 1066MHz and because of internal limitations that performance range will probably be limited to the overclocking and gaming markets,” Desi Rhoden said in an interview with DigiTimes web-site.

The JEDEC Memory Committee chairman said that the memory chip makers were already well along in the development of the DDR3 standard that had been in development since 2002. Still, the standard is unlikely to emerge until 2007 in the best scenario, whereas consumers and builders of high-performance PCs are likely to demand higher speed memory. By now several makers of expensive memory modules have already released DDR2 products capable of working at 933MHz-1066MHz frequencies, but those are designed for overclockers and enthusiasts, who run PCs on the limit.

1066MHz speed-bin was indicated to be a DDR3 speed-bin by Intel Corp., however, even the world’s largest chipmaker may eventually support the standard. Intel originally did not have plans to support PC3200 (DDR 400MHz), but then changed its plans and introduced Intel 865- and 875-chipset families with dual-channel PC3200 memory controllers.

DDR3 Approaches, Post-DDR3 in the Works

The committee chief explained that DDR3 will be similar to DDR2, but with lower power consumption and higher speeds.

“It is very much like DDR2 except it has lower power, and higher performance. It is always reasonable to expect that the next generation of any standard memory will ultimately gain about two times in raw performance and usually a few enhancements to make the actual performance even better than that. Expect the same from DDR3 all the way up to DDR3-1600. Reduced power consumption has also been a major focus as well in the development of DDR3,” Mr. Rhoden said.

Earlier this year leading memory makers Infineon Technologies and Samsung Electronics were relatively more optimistic about DDR3 adoption. Samsung, who indicated it had made the first DDR3 chips earlier this year, quoted market research firm IDC as saying that the first DDR3 DRAMs will be sold in 2006 and that the DDR3 will represent 65% of the entire DRAM market in 2009. Infineon said it would start sampling DDR3 in late 2006.

Intel Corp.’s plans included platforms supporting DDR3 memory in 2007, which is likely to catalyze memory makers to arrange commercial manufacturing of DDR3 SDRAM in 2007. Still, some makers may offer DDR3 for non-PC applications, such as networking devices, earlier than Intel proposes a desktop platform with DDR3 support.

In addition to micro-architectural advantages DDR2 memory brings over the original DDR memory, such as, On-Die Termination (ODT) as well as larger 4-bit prefetch, additive latency, and enhanced registers, the DDR3 features self-driver calibration and data synchronization.

JEDEC is already working on post-DDR3 memory standard, according to the chairman.

“Initial investigations have already started on memory technology beyond DDR3. JEDEC always has about three generations of memory in various stages of the standardization process: current generation, next generation, and future,” Mr. Rhoden claimed.

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