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.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I dont think we will ever see DDR1-800. DDR1-667 seems to be about the end of the line if it makes it that far.

  • Jeff7181 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    errr... too bad ya can't edit these posts =)
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    I like their choice... the BGA chips seem to provide enough headroom from the speed standpoint, and are obviously cheaper than DDRII. If more manufacturers start using BGA, I wouldn't be surprised to see DDR800 by the time AMD DDRII is affordable.
  • jensend - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    Hm. I thought that GDDR3 was just a variation on the DDR3 standard, just as GDDR2 was a variation on DDR2- so I didn't see a need to specify (thinking the main benefits of the standards would carry across both variations). Looking into things, I see that you're right- GDDR3 is still based on DDR2 and its improvements aren't as well suited for main module use. Humbug.
  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link


    I think you are confusing DDR3 with GDDR3. GDDR3 (which is available now) is pretty much identical to DDR2 but with better power and heat capabilities. Actual DDR3 for motherboards does not have any working prototypes.

  • jensend - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    I have no idea why Kubicki writes that AMD will move to DDR2 for BGA after Anandtech just reviewed BGA DDR1 modules from Kingmax ( AMD is right- DDR2 brings few enough benefits that one shouldn't break compatibility for it. DDR3 appears to be looking good, though (reviews of the NV 5700U with DDR3 have just come in and the difference in power draw and heat vs the ddr2 version is pretty huge; DDR3 should scale up a lot better than ddr2).
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    High capacity modules aren't pointless for some people, but the rest of us will be better off with lower latency DDR memory rather than DDR2. At least while its both cheaper as well as faster we will be.
  • Cygni - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    Finally, someone realizes that DDR2 is completly pointless right now, and will be for a long time. Now if everyone can do the same with PCI-Ex and BTX...
  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    #1: 2GB Samsung will be making 2GB and eventually 4GB DDR2 DIMMs within one year.

  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    the tourney has my brainwashed. :( i lashed myself with 100 wet noodles, then changed the title.


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now