In September, a number of industry heavyweights introduced a range of servers powered by Intel’s recently launched 18-core Xeon E5-2600 v3 (Grantley) chip. The servers – debuted by Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo and IBM – are the very first to pack DDR4 memory.
Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, confirmed that the pairing of DDR4 with Intel’s Grantley chips marked the start of DDR4’s wider deployment in the market. It should be noted that DDR4 delivers a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in bandwidth, as well as a 35 percent reduction in power consumption compared to DDR3 memory currently in servers.
“Our expectation is that DDR4 will ramp on the server side – both in terms of x86 and ARM – before finding its way into desktop PCs, laptops, and consumer applications like digital TVs and set-top boxes,” Shalinsky told Rambus Press during a September interview. “Concurrently, the cost of DDR4 will steadily decrease, ultimately reaching price parity with DDR3 when it will become the de-facto choice for consumer products.”
Recently, AnandTech’s Ian Cutress reviewed a slew of consumer-centric motherboards loaded with Intel’s X99 chipset. As Cutress points out, the debut of Haswell-E ushers in a triumvirate of new technology: DDR4 memory, CPU line and motherboard chipset.
“This new platform is a boon for DRAM manufacturers and resellers. Each new computer needs a new memory kit and cannot simply recycle the old DDR3 into a new build,” Cutress explained.
“Almost all motherboards will support either one or two DIMMs per channel, giving a maximum of 64GB of DRAM using 8 GB modules… Memory manufacturers are still preparing kits and motherboard manufacturers are continuously updating their qualified lists.”
According to Cutress, Intel’s X99 platform has been anticipated for a long while.
“We get a full set of SATA 6 Gbps ports, more USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt support, DDR4 and PCIe storage,” he concluded. “Haswell-E gives a chance for all the motherboard manufacturers to stretch their engineering departments into creating something new for the high end, and it is interesting to see which manufacturers grasp that opportunity.”
“High-end Intel processors and chipsets are geared towards facilitating the use of the same packages for two successive generations. The introduction of the X99 (with the Haswell-E CPUs) marks the beginning of this exciting new cycle,” he said.
“Once designed for the new X99/Haswell-E combination, the motherboards can potentially be used for the next CPU/Chipset generations as well. Of course, DDR4 will remain a steady constant – irrespective of second-gen motherboard redesigns.”