IDF 2013: DDR4 is real - but do not hold your breath waiting for it

Get the current on iPhone/iPad innovation: Ipads Advisor

DDR4 is real. That was the main takeaway from the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) panel discussion on the next-gen memory standard.

The excellent and the excellent of the memory sector, from Intel to Micron, were there attempting to excite on everyone that the long-awaited successor to DDR3 is really alive and well.

Though exactly how well it’s still continues to be up for debate.

Server-side first

What is not however is where it will turn up first. DDR4 is readied to be a server part for the time being with the desktop and note pad variants coming an excellent while after.

‘We anticipate to see DDR4 in desktops and notebooks possibly a year after the server,’ clarified a rep from Kingston on the show floor. If that’s true we should see DDR4 filtering down into our desktop devices sometime in 2015 – memory companies are readied to begin shipping server-grade memory next year.

Samsung is not really so sure about the transfer to our desktops though.

Samsung DDR4

Around the corner from the Kingston booth on the IDF floor was the Samsung booth, showing off its own option of DDR4 modules. I asked if the South Oriental company concurred with Kingston in regards to the consumer timespan and its rep was a lot more sceptical.

Samsung is predicting that DDR4 will most likely not turn up in our own devices until after 2015. That’s a long way away and we can well have a really different computing ecological community by then.

Unanimous benefits

What all the memory companies do settle on however is the advantages of DDR4, and not simply in the server space.

‘Memory has a quite big impact on efficiency, beside the processor it’s the fastest component in the system,’ discussed Kingston.

‘For DDR4 it’s the next step up in rate and it also needs less power. DDR4 beginnings at 1.2 volt, so right off there you are seeing anywhere in between 15-20 % savings on power usage. So for the consumer, that’s even more battery life, much better cooling and much better efficiency.’

There’s likewise the truth we are looking at far greater possible densities in specific modules with DDR4. The last generation of memory varied from 512Mb up to 8Mb. With DDR4, that’s moving up to in between 2Gb and ultimately 16Gb.

That’ll allow far higher capability DIMMs than we can manage today. We are likewise reviewing around a 50 % boost in memory bandwidth moving forward.

But the huge element impacting the transition to DDR4 is going to be cost. If the DDR3 market remains tight then that’s just going to extend the lifetime of the last-gen memory.

Depending on cost then, even Samsung’s more conservative forecast of the consumer change to DDR4 could turn out to be rather hopeful.