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Next-generation DDR4 memory standard is incoming. DDR4 memory modules will be used inside high-end desktops (HEDTs) based on Intel Core i7 “Haswell-E” chips as well as servers powered by Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 “Haswell-EP” central processing units. But nothing is that rosy about the new memory standard. Apparently, the standard needs further tweaking.

“The initial DDR4 DRAM standard was targeted at early adopters, doubling the speed as well as improving performance scalability, capacity, and power efficiency in comparison to its predecessor,” said IHS iSuppli memory analyst Dee Robinson in an interview with EETimes web-site.

The per-pin data rate for DDR4 is specified as 1.6GT/s (giga transfers per second), an initial maximum data-rate plan of 3.2GT/s. With DDR3 exceeding its original targeted double data rate performance of 1.6GT/s, it is likely that higher performance speed grades will be added in into a DDR4 update. Other DDR4 attributes are reportedly tightly intertwined with the planned speed grades, enabling device functionality as well as application adoption, include: a pseudo open drain interface on the DQ bus, a geardown mode for 2,667MT/s per DQ and beyond, bank group architecture, internally generated VrefDQ and improved training modes.

"Going forward, the features are pretty much set, and we will do a little more fine-turning as well as add a few more speed bands. What ultimately decides whether there is a new specification rather than a revision is voltage supply and speed. If we are adding a feature, but not changing the voltage or the speed performance, then it will probably be an addendum to the spec,” said Scott Schaefer, a JEDEC committee member.

The DDR4 architecture features an 8n prefetch with two or four selectable bank groups. This design will permit the DDR4 memory devices to have separate activation, read, write or refresh operations underway in each unique bank group. This concept will also improve overall memory efficiency and bandwidth, especially when small memory granularities are used. More information about additional features may be found on the JEDEC website.

In addition, DDR4 has been designed in such a way that stacked memory devices may prove to be a key factor during the lifetime of the technology, with stacks of up to 8 memory devices presenting only a single signal load. This approach has a drawback as well: only one memory module per DDR4 channel is supported. Limitations of DDR4 will not resolved until DDR5, which is years away.

“Changes to the form factor in support of better speeds or lowering voltage is seen as a new technology. In order to make the jump to DDR5, it would require major new features, a lower power supply and changes to the form factor,” said Mr. Schaefer.

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, two major DRAM makers, have been shipping DDR4 memory samples since 2011.

Boostments to DDR4 standard will unlikely have a significant effort to its availability on the mass market since adoption of the technology by mainstream personal computers will only happen sometimes in 2015.

Tags: DDR4, DRAM, SK Hynix, Samsung, JEDEC

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 01/05/14 12:35:05 PM
Latest comment: 01/06/14 10:07:42 PM
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DDR4 will not show any tangible system performance gains for desktop PCs over DDR3 running at 1600 MHz. DDR4 will have some value for servers and possibly portable devices.

You will however see some unscrupulous marketeers trying to sell mobos, CPUs, etc. based on the fact they can use DDR4 RAM - as if this were some technical advantage over DDR3 LV, which it is not in real life.

Getting lots of stories written about DDR4 is how they "prime the well" so technically challenged consumers buy the goods. The stories are intended for the type of enthusiasts who are foolish enough to pay a premium for 2133 MHz. and higher DDR3 RAM when it produces no tangible benefit over 1600 MHz. RAM in a CPU powered desktop PC.
5 3 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 01/05/14 12:35:05 PM]
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2 6 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 01/05/14 03:17:39 PM]
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That's offensive. Beenthere is a long time contributor here. I wonder if it was actually you who had the dopamine surge.
2 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 01/06/14 06:20:39 AM]
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Contribute to what? Overall stupidity and amateurism? I enjoy reading all off your fanboism's posts and constant negativism over some brands or new techs. Go on go on.
1 3 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 01/06/14 08:43:00 AM]
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DDR4 will show considerable Graphics performance increases on chips with integrated GPUs, as those are getting quite bandwidth limited. And majority of chips sold during this and next year will have CPU and GPU on same die.

3 0 [Posted by: hkultala  | Date: 01/06/14 02:46:27 AM]
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False. Intel already throws 128MB of eDRAM on the package which is significantly faster than DDR memory and it didn't turn the chip into a Ferrari.
1 2 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 01/06/14 03:31:27 AM]
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really you are comparing an mediocre gpu on an apu? of course it won't take advantage of it because the gpu's arch is bottlenecking it. I mean lets face it when you hear about an intel gpu, performance is def not the first thing to come to mind. lol

But with amd's apu's a gpu that actually yields decent performance from an apu has been proven that higher memory speeds yields better results for the gpu and that's because the arch on the amd's apu gpu can actually take advantage of high speed memory thanks to it being largely based on the same arch as their graphic cards core logics.
6 1 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 01/06/14 06:37:56 AM]
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It will on debut at 1600 under the Intel Platform, the update mentioned in the article will double that to 3200 baseline which is quite substantive. I'm tempted to wait for AMD to release a DDR4 FM2+ but it might not be released and it would probably only see the light of day Q3Q4 of 2015.
0 0 [Posted by: ericore  | Date: 01/06/14 10:07:42 PM]
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