[AI] The time to refresh your memory is not far away!

Vikas Kapoor dl.vikas at gmail.com
Sun Aug 5 02:06:14 EDT 2007

The time to refresh your memory is not far away! 
                                                              Anand Parthasarathy 
          New RAM technology promises more speed, less power - but needs hardware upgrade                                                              

Bangalore:  Buyers of new personal computers beware! The upcoming churn in Random Access Memory (RAM) technology may make you the latest victim of media
guru Marshall Mcluhan's famous mantra: 'If it works - it's obsolete.' In recent years, desktop and lap top PCs have come with a type of memory known as
DDR2 or Dynamic Data Rate 2, a member of the SDRAM Synchronous Dynamic RAM family. PCs typically, have between 256 and 512 megabytes of memory - but the
demands placed on the machine's number-crunching capacity by new graphics-heavy applications have seen even home PCs offered with 1 gigabyte (that is 1000
MB) or more of RAM memory. A PC's memory stores the working data of the computer - and the faster it can transfer that data, to and from, the parts that
do the calculation, the better the applications will run. At some point it becomes futile to add more memory... far better to make the existing memory
work faster. That is when the semiconductor industry decided that DDR2 has had its day - it was time to move on to DDR3 which would run twice as fast,
work on lower voltages and consume about 16 per cent less power while doing all this. It was what The Godfather would have called 'an offer you can't refuse.'

The push to DDR3 became a shove around May this year, when Intel launched a new PC chipset, the P35 that could work with the DDR3 memory modules, in addition
to the current DDR2 types. Since then, the leading manufacturers of PC motherboard - the large circuit board that forms the heart of the PC and contains,
the main processor chip, slots for memory modules, as well as add-ons like graphic cards - have introduced new models compatible with the P35 chip set
and hence capable of working with the next-generation DDR3 memory. 

The problem is DDR3 memory, megabyte for megabyte, works out much costlier than DDR2. 

Typically, this will change very fast once the world shifts more completely to DDR3 and in the end, the new memory will probably cost about the same as
the old. This faces the average home or small office PC buyer with a "dharma sankat." 

Should one stick with DDR2 for now - in which case there is the danger that the mother board you buy today may have to be thrown away if and when you decide
to upgrade to DDR3 (that could be as soon as a year from now). Remember, the mother board is one of the costliest hardware components of the PC.

                 'Future proof' 

If, however, you are one of those who believe that the 'latest is always the best,' you can get a DDR3-compatible mother board, but you will have to shell
out a huge premium on current DDR2 memory prices. At least one motherboard maker has come out with a solution at last, that might 'future proof' your current
purchase and spare you the dilemma. 

Gigabyte Technology (India), a joint venture between the Taiwan-based PC device and peripherals maker, Gigabyte and the Indian operation of D-Link, the
networking products leader, has launched the GA-P35C-DS3R motherboard which allows you to continue using DDR2 memory modules now - even while switching
to DDR3 later, using the same slots. 

Like all DDR3 boards, it uses the Intel P35 chipset and supports Windows Vista while enabling tomorrow's technologies like High Definition TV and the two
competing high density DVD formats, Bluray and HD-DVD. Gigabyte assembles these boards for markets in India and neighbouring countries at its Goa plant.

Other mother board makers will inevitably offer their own dual use memory options. Right now, Gigabyte's offering is priced at Rs. 14,000, for those who
don't mind paying a little more for the board today, to protect it from obsolescence tomorrow. Like it or not, the time to refresh your memory is not too
far away.


Vikas Kapoor,
MSN Id:dl_vikas at hotmail.com, Yahoo+Skype Id: dl_vikas,
Mobile: (+91) 9891098137.

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