Evolution Of Memory
by Eric Garay – Tech Writer at Futurelooks.com

So, you’re shopping for new upgrades or a new computer. Your current computer starting to get sluggish and seems to be going nowhere like the stock market. Despite your best maintenance efforts, it just doesn’t seem to be doing much good. Everyone keeps telling you that maybe you just need more memory. It seems logical, right? But, while you were researching and shopping, you noticed that computers have changed again for the some-tenth time. Things like Dual Channel, Phenom II, Socket 1366, Triple Channel, and something called a Smackover, are on sale?

It doesn’t have to be complicated. The biggest trick to understanding what’s new and what works with “what’s new” is to follow the latest processors. Simply go to the AMD® and/or Intel® website and you’ll be up to speed on the very latest processors. As computer processors (CPU) and motherboards evolve, so does the memory supported by these two components. Processors dictate what kinds of motherboards are compatible. And motherboards tend to dictate what kind of computer memory is compatible. It’s here that many wonder what memory is best.


Single, Dual, or Triple Channel Memory?

You’ve probably seen the initials “SDRAM” in your research efforts. This stands for Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. SDRAM became the new standard for computer memory around 1993 and is still used today. Since then, memory manufacturers have released DDR (discontinued), DDR2, and DDR3 memory. The difference is in the number of memory channels that can be read at once time.

Early AMD® and Intel® computers functioned with only Single Data Rate memory. Compatible motherboards could only access one memory module at a time due to the chipset’s memory controller. Suffice to say; while it was a grand leap from the old school I286 era, computing was still somewhat in its technological infancy, not to mention, slow.

Things changed again as Double Data Rate (DDR) memory arrived which was right on queue with the next generation processors and motherboards. The new systems could access two memory modules simultaneously which meant more memory bandwidth was available. Memory vendors around the world started producing “Dual Channel” memory which greatly increased performance. It was at this point in processor evolution that AMD® was able to greatly improve performance due to an “on-die” integrated memory controller (IMC). The IMC made AMD® the gaming and server CPU of choice at that time. Intel® CPUs didn’t benefit so well at first because they had to rely on an external memory controller integrated in the motherboard chipset.

In recent months, another evolution in processor design arrived. Intel® launched the new Core™ i7 Processor which offers a brand new design with an IMC. While the very latest AMD® processors still offer improved Dual Channel support, Intel’s® Core™ i7 now supports “Triple Channel” memory. The processor can access three memory modules simultaneously providing unprecedented memory bandwidth and system performance.

What Can Triple Channel Do For Me?

There are many Triple Channel Memory Kits available, like those produced by Patriot Memory, which support the Intel’s® Core™ i7. This is just one of the Tri-Channel memory kits available producing record setting levels of memory bandwidth. In many tests, Patriot’s 1600 MHz 6GB Triple Channel Memory Kit was capable of producing over 27,000 MB/s (Megabytes per second), or 27 GB/s (Gigabytes per second).

Even with only two memory modules installed in an Core™ i7 system, memory bandwidth still exceeds 20,000 MB/s (20 GB/s). This further proves just how much more a resource the Core™ i7 system can be in the proper configuration.

What this means for you is that multi-tasking, compiling, encoding, and decoding as well as large amounts of calculating can be processed in a much, much shorter time. Triple Channel has proven very handy in this respect helping cut tasks in almost half that of previous LGA 775 Quad Core processors. Administrators can expect great things from Triple Channel Memory support as the new Intel® Xeon Processors as well as save a lot of time and money on those large projects. When it comes to the best performance available, there’s simply no better choice beyond Triple Channel DDR3 for content creating and management.

Even gaming can benefit from Triple Channel Memory and Intel® Core™ i7 simply due to the better system performance as well as larger available system resources. Being able to multi-task without slowing your computer down while playing your favorite video game running full speed comes in quite handy. Your system will definitely be ready for next generation video games that offer more multi-channel performance.


Make The Right Choice

Now that you understand what the differences are between Dual Channel and Triple Channel systems, you’re ready to choose. If you just need a basic system for surfing the web, minor gaming, picture editing, and video editing, or simply need it for the office, then a standard dual channel system still remains your best option. It should at least offer DDR2/DDR3 Dual Channel memory performance or else you’ll really be wasting your money.

However, at the current cost ranging from $110 to $160 for a 6GB DDR3 Triple Channel Memory Kit, there are ample reasons to seriously consider the move to the new standard. If you find your favorite proprietary seller to be a bit expensive, it’s never too late to build your own system. Intel® Core™ i7 Quad Core Processors start at $280 which makes the notion a further enticement. In the end, going with this standard, you won’t need to worry about upgrading for several years.