Total Recall - The Past Decade in Memory


Timeline: 2001 - 2003

2001 - 2003

  • In 2001, the three main competing memory formats were still jousting in the market. We took a long look at them in our article where we compared PC133 vs. DDR vs. RAMBUS to find out which one was the performance and price winner. At that time, PC133 SDRAM was in obvious decline while DDR SDRAM seemed like the replacement. RAMBUS meanwhile remained too expensive for its own good.

    Our recommendation then was that DDR was indeed the future, especially if you were on the AMD platform. If not, PC-133 SDRAM would do in a pinch. Despite its high price, RDRAM proved to be the highest performer when used with the i850 platform. And unfortunately, as we all know, that was insufficient and DDR would become the de facto standard for the next two years. Intel's launch of its i845 chipset in 2002 supporting DDR200 and 266 was an admission that consumers wanted DDR and not RAMBUS.

  • While DDR2 would officially debut in 2003, the market was as usual much slower to adopt the new technology, since it relied on the chipset and processor lineups to be in sync. Manufacturing new memory formats also took time, since fabrication plants took years in advance to be prepared for the actual production. Hence, though JEDEC may have finalized the standard, the shipping product could take a while to come.
  • 2003 also saw the appearance of dual channel memory controllers at last on the Intel platform, with the debut of the 865 and 875 chipsets. NVIDIA had earlier pipped Intel to this with its nForce 2 platform, released in 2002 and supported dual channel DDR400.