There isn’t even an official standard for DDR4, the next generation of computer memory technology. But memory manufacturers are already shipping samples of the first DDR4 memory units, and preparing to produce them en masse. On May 7, Micron joined the field, announcing it had released its first fully functioning DDR4 memory product for testing.
Micron says its product, a 4-gigabit x8 DDR4 memory unit developed in partnership with its Taiwanese partner Nanya, will ship on a variety of memory module configurations by the end of the year. Micron’s competitors in the space are also preparing to ship their own DDR4 modules in that time. That means that memory modules based on the faster, more power efficient memory technology could start shipping on servers (where its benefits are in the greatest demand) by 2013—if there are any CPUs ready to handle them.
The Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC) is expected to sign off on a final DDR4 standard this summer. But a draft of the spec and its key attributes were issued last August. Those preliminary specs call for DDR4 memory to draw a maximum of 1.2 volts (20 percent less than current DDR3 memory) and achieve data transfer rates of 3.2 billion transfers per second (double that of the top-end speed of DDR3’s memory bus).
Micron’s initial memory DDR4 units will handle transfer speeds of 2.4 billion memory transfers per second, with later versions ramping up to the 3.2 gigatransfers per second top-end rate defined by JEDEC. Theoretically, since Micron’s initial memory units are “x8” (having 8-bit storage areas), the memory will have a throughput of 2.4 gigabits per second. Samsung has advertised a throughput of 2.113 gigabits per second for its DDR4. Micron announced that it is also developing x16 and x32 DDR4 memory components, which would result in even higher memory throughput rates.