Officially launched in 2007, DDR3 is starting to show its age five years down the line and is now a little power hungry and sluggish when compared against other offerings outside of the DDR spec. It's good news then, perhaps, that memory maker, Micron, has announced that it has already shipped out samples to "key partners" of memory based on the new and near-final, DDR4 spec.
Micron's chips are based on 30nm technology, with the shipped modules featuring a 4Gb x 8 configuration rated at 2,400MT/s. The firm plans to also introduce x16 and x32 parts, eventually ramping up to speeds of 3,200MT/s, the expected industry standard.
Initial reports of the DDR4 standard suggest that 2,400MT/s will be the minimum required transfer rate, with 3,200MT/s available immediately at the enthusiast end of the market, with hopes that the standard can scale up to 4,266MT/s. It's believed that the standard will also push for lower power usage, with a maximum rating of 1.2V, obtained from a move to sub-40nm manufacturing processes and perhaps the integration of power-saving techniques deployed in other technologies, such as 'pseudo open drain' from GDDR.
Looking to remove the mess that has appeared recently, with dual, triple and quad channel DDR3 memory variants, DDR4 will likely require a point-to-point configuration where a single module is connected to a single channel in the controller.
Despite its announcement to support DDR4, like many other firms who have joined the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) Consortium, Micron believes that there is more potential in a new HMC standard, which proposes to offer a 15-fold increase over current DDR3 memory performance, whilst taking 90 per cent less space and consuming 70 per cent less energy - perhaps one to keep an eye on as the specification is expected to be announced sometime this year.