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FB-DIMM is dead, RDDR3 is new king

FB-DIMM development stops, Registered ECC DDR3 is the way forward
Wed Sep 26 2007, 17:17

EVEN THOUGH SKULLTRAIL is yet to surface, FB-DIMM development has drawn to a close. We have talked to several Dramurai and developers of server memories, and they had told us that FB-DIMM is as dead as a turkey preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Chipzilla is a proud pusher of this standard, so it is significant that the place where we talked about the future (or the lack of it) for the FB-DIMM was the Moscone West convention centre, which hosted Intel Developer's Forum Fall 007.

At the end of the day, forcing the FB-DIMM standard did not pay off in terms of TDP (Thermal Power Design). FB-DIMM DDR2-667 as such - and even 2009 part, FB-DIMM DDR3-1333 - just did not gave enough leverage to make it worth while, it seems.

We talked with several server vendors and asked what was needed to get the power consumed by the FB-DIMMS off the table. The TDP trade-off would only pay with FB-DIMM modules sporting GDDR3 or GDDR4 chips with physical clocks of 1-1.2GHz, meaning a single DIMM would have 19.2 GB/s of bandwidth to work with. With the upcoming Stoakley chipset, we would be talking about an FB-DIMM system sporting a bandwidth of 28.4 to 56.8 GB/s. Sadly for FB-DIMMs, that did not happen - and this standard will slowly go the path of Rambus with RDIMM memory.

Samsung-apos-s-ddr3-initial-line-up Samsung demonstrated development of DDR3 chips with ECC function on Registered DIMMs.

So we got ton of power being consumed with no real benefits, and FB-DIMMs are sadly destined to remain present in current setups and a niche market called Nehalem 4S, while mainstream and high-performing servers of next year will get what memory makers will bring Registered DIMM with ECC chips at 800- and 1333MHz in DDR3 flavour. Development of RDDR3 chips is in full progress, set to debut with next-year's chipsets, most notably Nehalem in single and dual-socket configurations.

Ddr3-memory-looks-like-enthusiast-spec Samsung's 2GB RDDR3-800 memory module features a heat-spreader similar to one used in enthusiast space

Memory module manufacturers will continue to bring out FB-DIMM modules, such as Kingston's brilliant FB-DIMM DDR2-800 CAS3, but it will not get much more than one-off for Skulltrail.

Memory chip manufacturers and module manufacturers will dig into development of RDIMM DDR3 modules, though. Nehalem in 1S and 2S configurations will be a big hit, and we wonder what will be the clock of DDR3 memory with ECC feature when Nehalem launches. Perhaps even 1600 or 2000MHz, but for servers and workstations, stability is a must. µ


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