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The time to refresh your memory is not far away!
Posted By:Hajas On 8/5/2007

The time to refresh your memory is not far away!


Anand Parthasarathy

New RAM technology promises more speed, less power but needs hardware upgrade



Bangalore: Buyers of new personal computers beware! The upcoming churn in Random Access Memory (RAM) technology may make you the latest victim of media guru Marshall Mcluhans famous mantra: If it works its obsolete. In recent years, desktop and lap top PCs have come with a type of memory known as DDR2 or Dynamic Data Rate 2, a member of the SDRAM Synchronous Dynamic RAM family. PCs typically, have between 256 and 512 megabytes of memory but the demands placed on the machines number-crunching capacity by new graphics-heavy applications have seen even home PCs offered with 1 gigabyte (that is 1000 MB) or more of RAM memory. A PCs memory stores the working data of the computer and the faster it can transfer that data, to and from, the parts that do the calculation, the better the applications will run. At some point it becomes futile to add more memory... far better to make the existing memory work faster. That is when the semiconductor industry decided that DDR2 has had its day it was time to move on to DDR3 which would run twice as fast, work on lower voltages and consume about 16 per cent less power while doing all this. It was what The Godfather would have called an offer you cant refuse.

The push to DDR3 became a shove around May this year, when Intel launched a new PC chipset, the P35 that could work with the DDR3 memory modules, in addition to the current DDR2 types. Since then, the leading manufacturers of PC motherboard the large circuit board that forms the heart of the PC and contains, the main processor chip, slots for memory modules, as well as add-ons like graphic cards have introduced new models compatible with the P35 chip set and hence capable of working with the next-generation DDR3 memory.

The problem is DDR3 memory, megabyte for megabyte, works out much costlier than DDR2.

Typically, this will change very fast once the world shifts more completely to DDR3 and in the end, the new memory will probably cost about the same as the old. This faces the average home or small office PC buyer with a dharma sankat.

Should one stick with DDR2 for now in which case there is the danger that the mother board you buy today may have to be thrown away if and when you decide to upgrade to DDR3 (that could be as soon as a year from now). Remember, the mother board is one of the costliest hardware components of the PC.

Future proof

If, however, you are one of those who believe that the latest is always the best, you can get a DDR3-compatible mother board, but you will have to shell out a huge premium on current DDR2 memory prices. At least one motherboard maker has come out with a solution at last, that might future proof your current purchase and spare you the dilemma.

Gigabyte Technology (India), a joint venture between the Taiwan-based PC device and peripherals maker, Gigabyte and the Indian operation of D-Link, the networking products leader, has launched the GA-P35C-DS3R motherboard which allows you to continue using DDR2 memory modules now even while switching to DDR3 later, using the same slots.

Like all DDR3 boards, it uses the Intel P35 chipset and supports Windows Vista while enabling tomorrows technologies like High Definition TV and the two competing high density DVD formats, Bluray and HD-DVD. Gigabyte assembles these boards for markets in India and neighbouring countries at its Goa plant.

Other mother board makers will inevitably offer their own dual use memory options. Right now, Gigabytes offering is priced at Rs. 14,000, for those who dont mind paying a little more for the board today, to protect it from obsolescence tomorrow. Like it or not, the time to refresh your memory is not too far away.

 

http://www.hindu.com/2007/08/05/stories/2007080560371300.htm




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