Writing for KitGuru, Anton Shilov says Intel’s upcoming Skylake-S architecture will promote DDR4 “considerably more aggressively” than initially believed.
“Although [the] integrated memory controller of Skylake supports different types of DRAM, the processors will not officially support DDR3, but will only be compatible with a low-power version of the technology,” he explained.
“As a result, the majority of desktop mainboards for Skylake will rely on DDR4.”
According to Shilov, the upcoming “Skylake-S” CPUs in LGA1151 packaging for desktops will only officially support DDR4 and DDR3L memory with 1.2V or 1.35V voltages. Meaning, the chips will not support standard DDR3 memory with voltages of 1.5V or 1.65V.
“Manufacturers of mainboards will have to install either 288-pin slots for DDR4 DIMMs or 204-pin slots for DDR3L SO-DIMMs on their LGA1151 platforms, but not 240-pin slots for DDR3 memory modules,” he continued.
“Keeping in mind that producers of motherboards tend to follow recommendations of chip designers, the majority of desktop platforms for Skylake will use DDR4 memory. Small form-factor systems will continue to use DDR3 SO-DIMMs, but high-performance PCs with Intel’s latest processors will all rely on DDR4.”
As Shilov notes, DDR4 memory is currently more expensive than DDR3 and sold at a premium.
“[However], growing demand will increase revenues and margins. Suppliers of memory modules will also benefit from transition of Intel’s mainstream platforms to DDR4 this year,” he concluded.
Commenting on the above-mentioned report, Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, said he expects DDR4 to command a price premium over DDR3 as it continues to ramp in the server and desktop enthusiast space. That premium, says Shalinsky, will ultimately come down over time as DDR4 begins to dominate the mainstream memory market.
“From a power consumption perspective, DDR3 uses 1.5V signaling. DDR3L uses 1.35V, while DDR4 uses 1.2V. Just that alone will help drive power consumption down, although the power savings is usually offset by an increase in memory capacity,” Shalinsky added. “DDR3 memory has been the workhorse for main memory since 2009. It’s had a good run, but the industry is poised to let its successors take over.”