Memory based on the exciting new Micron Z9 memory chips for DDR3 first appeared a couple of weeks ago and we first looked at it in Super Talent & TEAM: DDR3-1600 is Here! As predicted in that review, it was only a matter of days until most of the major enthusiast memory makers began talking about their own products based on Micron Z9 chips. Some even announced fast availability of the new kits in the retail market.

The reasons for this are basic. All memory makers buy raw memory chips available in the open market. Some memory makers do not like to talk about the chips used in their DIMMs, as they consider that information proprietary, but this secrecy does not normally last very long. It is rare to see a memory manufacturer with a truly exclusive supply arrangement with a memory vendor, but several companies have been trying very hard to do just this, and we may see more of these attempts in the future.

The DIMM manufacturers then speed grade or "bin" the chips to create one or more speed grades from a single chip type. Memory chips are then surface-mounted on generic or proprietary circuit boards with SPD (Serial Presence Detect) chips programmed with generic code or custom SPD programming done by the DIMM maker. This is why the introduction of fast new chips like the Micron Z9 often circulates rapidly through the enthusiast memory market as each manufacturer tries to introduce products based on the new chips with new twists that outdo the competition. This does not mean the memory you buy from Super Talent, for example, is exactly the same as the Micron Z9-based memory you buy from Corsair. Companies pride themselves on the sophistication of their speed-grading technology, their design and/or sourcing of PCBs, and their skill at programming the SPD.

Despite the real differences that emerge in memory performance from different DIMM manufacturers, the normal arrangement is one company successfully uses a new chip in a top-performing new DIMM, and then everyone in the market has a similar memory product based on the same chip. That is why every memory company has announced, or will soon be announcing, their own Micron Z9-based memory.

One of the more interesting of the announcements is OCZ DDR3-1800, rated at 8-8-8 timings at DDR3-1800, which is the fastest production DDR3 kit currently available. This new PC3-14400 Platinum Edition kit is specified to reach DDR3-1800 at 1.9V and is claimed to have substantial headroom above this speed. It certainly appears that OCZ is binning Micron Z9 chips for even higher memory speeds, along with possibly some other tweaks to squeeze more from these chips. The test results should tell us what these new DIMMs can actually do.

OCZ PC3-14400 Platinum Edition
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  • Lonyo - Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - link

    Any chances of a power consumption comparison between DDR2 and DDR3?
    DDR3 is supposed to run at a lower voltage, so in theory it might use a little less power. Would be interesting to see if there is any difference (DDR2/3-800 would probably be best, since that's a standard speed for both).
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - link

    Does anyone even sell a DDR3 capable motherboard yet ? If so, is anyone even using DDR3 ? Personally, I think latencies need to come down, Prices need to come down,etc. Memory companies are *claiming* they are taking a beating in the market for DDR2 (claiming all time low, and losing money . . .).Personally, I think you reap what you soe, and they got what they deserved for their early market prices.

    Anyhow, short and skinny, I think *we* all need to take things slowly this time around, OEMS, buyers, and reviewers . . .
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - link

    By the way, when I asked if anyone is even making a DDR3 motherboard yet, I was pretty much joking. Obviously if you're testing it, there has to be some form of a platform availible.

    You know, I cannot help but think that DDR2 was not quite 'finished' yet, and I do not understand the *need* for DDR3(unless OEMs are looking to rape our wallets again . . .). Of course, if 'Joe blow enthusiast' HAS to HAVE DDR3 memory because it gives him/her an extra 4-13 FPS in an outdated game at 2-3x the cost of DDR2 . . . well... lets just say that I expect that OCZ, Geil, and the rest would be more than happy to keep you poorer ;)

    Some of us actually like to upgrade smart, using as many parts from older machines as possible to save money for other things. This sort of marketing strategy makes it hard on us who would like to do so while keeping our system upgraded once a year or so. I just got over having to buy memory, CPU, and a motherboard the last 'technolgy' advance, and I really do not wish to repeat the process.
    Reply
  • asliarun - Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - link

    Man, I never understand viewpoints such as yours. This is a technology article on the latest DDR3 advancement, and is not marketing propoganda urging you to go out and buy it NOW. Intel's latest CPU chipsets (P35/P38, IIRC) all support DDR3 (along with DDR2), so it's not like DDR3 is exactly vaporware. Only AMD is not supporting DDR3 right now because firstly, they will need to upgrade their integrated uncore memory controller, and secondly, they tend support upcoming technologies much later than Intel. Furthermore, DDR3 is definitely the future as it has much more headroom than DDR2, and is designed to work at lower voltages.

    In any case, my point is that we're discussing a new memory standard technology which is already in the market and is slowly being adopted. Initially, it WILL be highly priced like any other technology until volume manufacturing kicks in. However, if you are a price sensitive customer instead of a "Joe blow enthusiast" (frankly, like most of us), no one is forcing you to replace your RAM with DDR3 TODAY, least of all this AT article. Your logic of not adopting DDR3 simply because it is initially expensive and because it only gives "4-13fps increase" is however, absurd. By the same token, there is no need for ANY technology improvement, especially those that *only* result in an incremental improvement.

    As a footnote, you should be grateful for all the "Joe blow enthusiasts" in this world instead of heaping scorn on them. All said and done, you and I ARE freeloading on him, as he's the one who's financing our cut rate technology purchases.
    Reply
  • GlassHouse69 - Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - link

    Oh you think so?

    hm.... i wonder how much Anandtech/daily got for reviewing this... hm.....

    Reply

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