Although we have had some strong evidence that AMD will not adopt DDR2 soon, today we received official word that AMD will not adopt DDR2 in 2004, and certainly not well into 2005.

AMD's DDR2 philosophy revolves around "performance, price and availability"; that is, AMD will not implement DDR2 until all three of those criteria are suitable for entry. Our sources claim this is the same strategy AMD approached to memory when it chose DDR memory over Rambus several years ago.

Perhaps the most interesting statement in AMD's newest release was the two key points outlined for the actual deployment of DDR2:

AMD will support DDR2 when it makes sense
- When DDR2-667 is introduced and performance advances enough to overcome the DDR2 latency penalty
- When the DDR2 price premium fades

Sadly, there were no sources to cite as to whether those two key points were mutually inclusive. Multiple sources confirm DDR2-667 deployment could be here as early as Q2'05.

Let us consider the significant negative performance issue with DDR2 for now; latency. If you had a chance to read our memory articles, as well as our DDR2 preview last week, you've seen that DDR2-400 and DDR1-400 have equivalent thorough put. Unfortunately for DDR2, we won't see timings better than 4-4-4 (while DDR1-400 can achieve 2-2-2 relatively easily). This could in fact become a blessing in disguise for AMD.

The onboard memory controller for Athlon 64 enhances performance more so than any other feature on the new chips (although, the 64-bit addressing is pretty nice too). Since each individual processor revision dictates the memory clock, AMD is free release its next generation A64 with a 533MHz memory bus if they wish. Intel, on the other hand, relies on upgrading the FSB clock on its CPUs and the memory controller in order to achieve a higher memory clock. DDR2 will be very easy for AMD and its partners to incorporate. AMD upgrades the memory controller on the processor, and the motherboard manufacturers replace the 184pin DDR1 DIMM with the 240pin DIMM needed for DDR2 - no new Northbridge.



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  • Runamile - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    Same here #2- looking for benchmarks, found what looks like a summary of a news release. Reply
  • Icewind - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    Makes sense unlike Intel's grand scheme for DDR2. Awesome that i'll be able to recycle my 3700XMS this summer, save some money for a nice new R420 when it comes out Reply
  • Netopia - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    You should rename the article based on the use of the word "Benches" in our community. I went in looking for benchmarks of what to expect from DDR2 on new AMD platforms!

    Perhaps you should quickly retitle it

    [b]AMD Sidelines DDR for 2004[/b]

  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    "After all, you can't build 4GB DIMMs on DDR1 TSOP like you can with DDR2 BGA. Hynix and Micron are already capable of 1GB DDR2 DIMMs."

    You can have DDR1 BGAs- Kingston make them. There are also 1GB DDR1 DIMMs from corsair and OCZ.

    The story about the latency is that it is supposedly nullified by the 4byte (cf 2 in DDR1) prefetch. But that gain may not help with apps where the associated bytes to the target byte may be irrelevant. So I await the tests on the real stuff. At double the cost if it is equivalent performance, it will be struggling. So I think AMD's move is wise and everything seems in place for a resurgence in sales over H2'03/H1'04.

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