Even though a number of memory makers have already released memory modules capable of operating at 1.80GHz, there are no memory modules to break the 2.0GHz barrier nowadays. But this may change soon, as Intel is not only working with JEDEC on 1866MHz and 2133MHz DDR3 standards, but also plans to enable such speed-bins via its extreme memory profile (XMP) technology.
“We are working on adding a few more speed bins to JEDEC’s standard DDR3’s definition – specifically like 1866MHz and 2133MHz – even though these speed bins will first be covered by the XMP spec,” said Christopher Cox, senior staff engineer for Intel’s platform memory operations, in an interview with TechGage web-site.
At the moment Intel is reportedly working on its Intel X48 platform that will officially support PC3-12800 (1600MHz) memory as well as faster, e.g., 1800MHz and higher memory modules via XMP. Technically, PC3-17000 (DDR3 2133MHz) memory support via XMP may be available as soon as memory modules can work at such speed. However, in order to get beyond that, PC3-17000 has to be ratified officially.
“As you probably know, overclocking (ala XMP) is more of an art form than a science, so while some XMP modules may get to 2000MHz with CL7 soon, not every board, every CPU and every module works the same. […] Having a base product that natively supports 2133MHz at 1.5V means that going to the next step in performance is going to be much easier. [Since] 1866/2133MHz JEDEC speed bins won’t be overclocked, so they will be about as stable as memory gets,” Mr. Cox said.
But while memory performance seems to be making good progress, benchmark results of real-world performance by X-bit labs shows that there is hardly any difference between PC2-9600 (DDR2 1200MHz) and PC3-12800MHz (DDR3 1600MHz) in terms of performance. Therefore, extreme-speed DDR3 may truly be needed to offer a tiny advantage over DDR2 when it comes to real-world applications.