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Apr 13, 2012

DDR4 in 2014, Behold the Speeds and Power Needs

As new CPUs and motherboards appear, so does new memory, but the time is nearing when DDR3 can no longer keep up with all other advancements. 

After seeing Intel's plans for the hard disk drive market, we get to look at the next big thing on the RAM segment. 

We are, of course, talking about DDR4 RAM (random access memory) and how it compares to DDR3. 

Then again, “compares” is not as correct as “will compare.” The new memory standard won't go into circulation for at least two more years after all. 

Nevertheless, the process of replacing DDR3 will start in 2014. 

According to VR-Zone, the DDR4 standard is just about finalized, or will be soon enough. 

The initial base speed grades will hover around DDR4-2667 and DDR4-3200 and will be followed by DDR4-4000 and DDR4-4266. 

That's right, while the first two won't exactly go much higher than DDR3 can go today, the later iterations will clearly surpass the existing solutions. 

The issue of growing latency will be addressed by implementing more banks (16 on each die), which means that more pages can be opened at the same time. 

Alas, that will still leave DDR-3400 with CL15, or thereabouts. Fortunately, subsequent design changes, at module and board level, will reduce the load per memory channel, eventually allowing for lower ones. 

All this will work on 1.2V of energy or lower (down to 1.05V for DDR4L), while ECC (error correcting code) handles DDR4 parity better than on previous memory types. 

It should even be possible to recover from command and parity errors without the system crashing, something that servers, particularly those based on Intel Haswell EX CPUs, will benefit from greatly. 

All in all, a higher bandwidth is assured and, while latencies won't be something to die for at first, they will improve as well. Samsung and Hynix should have sample chips ready this year (2012).


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