Subject: Memory | February 4, 2017 - 01:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: XPoint, server, Optane, Intel Optane, Intel, big data
Last week Hexus reported that Intel has begun shipping Optane memory modules to its partners for testing. This year should see the launch of both these enterprise products designed for servers as well as tiny application accelerator M.2 solid state drives based on the Intel and Micron joint 3D memory venture. The modules that Intel is shipping are the former type of Optane memory and will be able to replace DDR4 DIMMs (RAM) with a memory solution that is not as fast but is cheaper and has much larger storage capacities. The Optane modules are designed to slot into DDR4 type memory slots on server boards. The benefit for such a product lies in big data and scientific workloads where massive datasets will be able to be held in primary memory and the processor(s) will be able to access the data sets at much lower latencies than if it had to reach out to mass storage on spinning rust or even SAS or PCI-E solid state drives. Being able to hold all the data being worked on in one pool of memory will be cheaper with Optane as well as it is allegedly priced closer to NAND than RAM and the cost of RAM adds up extremely quickly when you need many terabytes of it (or more!). Various technologies attempting to bring higher capacity non volatile and/or flash-based storage in memory module form have been theorized or in the works in various forms for years now, but it appears that Intel will be the first ones to roll out actual products.
It will likely be years before the technology trickles down to consumer desktops and notebooks, so slapping what would effectively be a cheap RAM disk into your PC is still a ways out. Consumers will get a small taste of the Optane memory in the form of tiny storage drives that were rumored for a first quarter 2017 release following its Kaby Lake Z270 motherboards. Previous leaks suggest that the Intel Optane Memory 8000P would come in 16 GB and 32 GB capacities in a M.2 form factor. With a single 128-bit (16 GB) die Intel is able to hit speeds that current NAND flash based SSDs can only hit with multiple dies. Specifically the 16GB Optane application accelerator drive is allegedly capable of 285,000 random 4K IOPS, 70,000 random write 4K IOPS, Sequential 128K reads of 1400 MB/s, and sequential 128K writes of 300 MB/s. The 32GB Optane drive is a bit faster at 300,000 4K IOPS, 120,000 4K IOPS, 1600 MB/s, and 500 MB/s respectively.
Unfortunately, I do not have any numbers on how fast the Optane memory that will slot into the DDR4 slots will be, but seeing as two dies already max out the x2 PCI-E link they use in the M.2 Optane SSD, a dual sided memory module packed with rows of Optane dies on the significantly wider memory bus is very promising. It should lie somewhere closer to (but slower than) DDR4 but much faster than NAND flash while still being non volatile (it doesn't need constant power to retain the data).
I am interested to see what the final numbers are for Intel's Optane RAM and Optane storage drives. The company has certainly dialed down the hype for the technology as it approached fruition though that may be more to do with what they are able to do right now versus what the 3D XPoint memory technology itself is potentially capable of enabling. I look forward to what it will enable in the HPC market and eventually what will be possible for the desktop and gaming markets.
What are your thoughts on Intel and Micron's 3D XPoint memory and Intel's Optane implementation (Micron's implementation is QuantX)?
- IDF 2016: Intel To Demo Optane XPoint, Announces Optane Testbed for Enterprise Customers
- Intel Optane (XPoint) First Gen Product Specifications Leaked
- Intel Z270 Express and H270 Express Chipsets Support Kaby Lake, More PCI-E 3.0 Lanes
Subject: Memory, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2017 - 07:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: G.Skill, ddr4, ddr4-4266, ddr4-4133, G.Skill Trident Z
Kaby Lake CPUs and the associated Z270 motherboards can handle DDR4 frequencies higher than we have seen previously, good news for overclocking enthusiasts. G.SKILL may be first past the post with new DIMMs, you can pick up their Trident Z DDR4-4266 DIMMs on NewEgg right now, $230 for a 16GB dual channel kit.
This extra speed does come with an associated cost, they rate the voltage of these modules higher than you would expect from DDR4 at 1.4V as opposed to the 1.35 we are accustomed to and you should keep this in mind when shopping for a motherboard. It will be interesting to see if these extremely high frequencies have any noticeable effect in gaming performance however they are already breaking records, 8 world records and 21 global first place records.
You can see the various frequencies and timings currently available, expect to see more companies announcing new DIMMs very soon.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Memory | December 23, 2016 - 06:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vengeance LPX, kaby lake, Intel, DDR4-3600, corsair, core i7 7700k
[H]ard|OCP had a chance to try out Corsair's upcoming Vengeance LPX 3600MHz DDR4 on a Kaby Lake based system. The XMP settings for this DDR4 were 3600MHz with timings @ 18-19-19-39-2T and the system booted with no problems at these defaults, an improvement from some scenarios with Skylake based systems. Running Prime95 for over a day posed no problem for the system, however Memtest86 did until the RAM voltage was bumped up to 1.41v from the default 1.36v at which point it could pass the tests with no problems. This shows some promise for overclocking addicts planning on upgrading to the refreshed Intel chip.
"We were lucky enough to get our hands on a new set of Corsair Vengeance LPX 3600MHz RAM this week and we immediately put it work with the new Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K processor that is to be launched next month."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- Team Group T-Force Night Hawk 3000 MHz DDR4 @ techPowerUp
- Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3000 64 GiB @ Hardware Secrets
- Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000 MHz DDR4 (4x 8 GB) @ techPowerUp
Subject: Memory | November 5, 2016 - 05:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: G.Skill Trident Z, G.Skill, ddr4
Yesterday G.Skill announced the launch of the soon-to-be fastest DDR4 64 GB kit using 16 GB modules running at 3600 MHz. The new Trident Z kit uses Samsung 8Gb chips and pairs four 16 GB DIMMs supporting XMP 2.0 and CAS latencies of 17-19-19-39.
The DDR4 memory kit features stylized brushed aluminum heatspreaders with red accents similar to those used on existing Trident Z kits. Out of the box the kit runs at 1.35 voilts though overclockers should be able to push them further to eke out a bit more speed beyond the stock 3600 MHz!
Beyond that there is not much to the announcement other than G.Skill claiming the speed crown. Looking online, it seems the previous highest speed offered was 3466 MHz so the new modules are a decent bit faster.
According to G.Skill, the new Trident Z 64GB kit will be available in December. They have not yet released pricing, but I would expect it to MSRP for at least $570 considering G.Skill and Corsair currently have DDR4 3466 MHz 64GB kits priced at $540 and $530 respectively. If you are into overclocking, you can probably save a few bucks and overclock some lower specc'ed memory, but these might be good if you are building a workstation that doesn't need ECC (e.g. a video editing and streaming monster heh).
Subject: Memory | October 17, 2016 - 06:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, Corsair Vengeance LPX, ddr4-3200
This particular Corsair Vengeance LPX kit comes with the Airflow kit, active cooling for your DIMMs which does require a fair amount of clearance around your CPU socket if you intend to install it. If you do not use the active cooling the low profile DIMMs stand a mere 31mm tall, which should fit alongside even the largest heatsinks. This 32GB DDR4-3200MHz kit has default timings of 15-15-15-36, Overclockers Club managed to squeeze out an overclock of 14-16-16-36 @ 3261MHz on this particular kit. Drop by to see the effect that had on performance in the full review.
"Right out of the box, this set of modules delivered excellent performance across each of the tests I ran. From synthetic to real world and finally in the gaming test, these modules delivered better performance overall than even the Dominator platinum modules I just looked at. The tighter primary timings and SPD tuning really brings out the performance potential of this Vengeance LPX 3200MHz 32GB set of modules."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.SKILL Trident Z 3200MHz DDR4 32GB Review @ OCC
- ADATA XPG Dazzle 2800MHz CL17 2x8GB DDR4 Review: Razzle-Dazzle Without The Hassle @ Modders-Inc
- Patriot Viper 4 8GB DDR4 3400MHz Memory Kit Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Memory | September 28, 2016 - 05:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition, corsair, ddr4, ddr4-3200, DHX
Corsair's DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition series comes in 32GB kits, either four 8GB DIMMs or a pair of 16GB DIMMs, in your choice of Chrome or Blackout finishes. All kits are DDR4-3200MHz but with the 10-layer PCB and DHX heatsinks Corsair feels that reaching 3600MHz will be trivial and higher frequencies possible for talented tweakers. They will be available directly from Corsair, $330 for the quad-channel kit and $300 for the dual channel.
You can read the full PR by clicking below.
Subject: Memory | September 2, 2016 - 09:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gskill, ddr4
Judging by a quick scan of Newegg USA, G.SKILL is pretty much alone in bringing 8GB DIMMs to speeds above DDR4-3733. They already have a 2x8GB kit in the DDR4-4000 and DDR4-4133 ranges, but they're now introducing a 4x8GB kit into the DDR4-3866 classification. The chip is rated at CL18-19-19-39 when supplied with 1.35V. This is much higher voltage than slower sticks, but, as far as I can tell, pretty good at that speed. It also supports XMP 2.0 to automatically configure your BIOS, which is a bonus.
Granted, I cannot think of too many situations where four channels of high-bandwidth memory will give you any real benefits, apart from obviously a narrow list of overclocking record categories. Current DDR4-capable processors can do up to 16GB DIMMs. Personally, I'd tend to err on the side of slower, denser sticks of RAM. I'm more concerned about leaving everything I want in memory, versus any potential bottlenecks I might introduce in giving my CPU work. That's just me, though. If you have the need for high-bandwidth, quad-channel, DDR4 memory, then here you go.
Pricing has not yet been announced. That said, a 2x8GB DDR4-4000 (the next category up) of the same brand can be found for around $190 USD. 2x8GB DDR4-4133 (the next category above that) is about $220 USD. While those kits contain half the sticks, 2 vs 4, the new kit might be slightly cheaper per stick than these. That's just speculation, though, until retailers show their stock.
Subject: Memory | August 25, 2016 - 06:39 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: TSV, SK Hynix, Samsung, hot chips, hbm3, hbm
Samsung and SK Hynix were in attendance at the Hot Chips Symposium in Cupertino, California to (among other things) talk about the future of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). In fact, the companies are working on two new HBM products: HBM3 and an as-yet-unbranded "low cost HBM." HBM3 will replace HBM2 at the high end and is aimed at the HPC and "prosumer" markets while the low cost HBM technology lowers the barrier to entry and is intended to be used in mainstream consumer products.
As currently planned, HBM3 (Samsung refers to its implementation as Extreme HBM) features double the density per layer and at least double the bandwidth of the current HBM2 (which so far is only used in NVIDIA's planned Tesla P100). Specifically, the new memory technology offers up 16Gb (~2GB) per layer and as many as eight (or more) layers can be stacked together using TSVs into a single chip. So far we have seen GPUs use four HBM chips on a single package, and if that holds true with HBM3 and interposer size limits, we may well see future graphics cards with 64GB of memory! Considering the HBM2-based Tesla will have 16 and AMD's HBM-based Fury X cards had 4GB, HBM3 is a sizable jump!
Capacity is not the only benefit though. HBM3 doubles the bandwidth versus HBM2 with 512GB/s (or more) of peak bandwidth per stack! In the theoretical example of a graphics card with 64GB of HBM3 (four stacks), that would be in the range of 2 TB/s of theoretical maximum peak bandwidth! Real world may be less, but still that is many terabytes per second of bandwidth which is exciting because it opens a lot of possibilities for gaming especially as developers push graphics further towards photo realism and resolutions keep increasing. HBM3 should be plenty for awhile as far as keeping the GPU fed with data on the consumer and gaming side of things though I'm sure the HPC market will still crave more bandwidth.
Samsung further claims that HBM3 will operate at similar (~500MHz) clocks to HBM2, but will use "much less" core voltage (HBM2 is 1.2V).
Stacked HBM memory on an interposer surrounding a processor. Upcoming HBM technologies will allow memory stacks with double the number of layers.
HBM3 is perhaps the most interesting technologically; however, the "low cost HBM" is exciting in that it will enable HBM to be used in the systems and graphics cards most people purchase. There were less details available on this new lower cost variant, but Samsung did share a few specifics. The low cost HBM will offer up to 200GB/s per stack of peak bandwidth while being much cheaper to produce than current HBM2. In order to reduce the cost of production, their is no buffer die or ECC support and the number of Through Silicon Vias (TSV) connections have been reduced. In order to compensate for the lower number of TSVs, the pin speed has been increased to 3Gbps (versus 2Gbps on HBM2). Interestingly, Samsung would like for low cost HBM to support traditional silicon as well as potentially cheaper organic interposers. According to NVIDIA, TSV formation is the most expensive part of interposer fabrication, so making reductions there (and somewhat making up for it in increased per-connection speeds) makes sense when it comes to a cost-conscious product. It is unclear whether organic interposers will win out here, but it is nice to seem them get a mention and is an alternative worth looking into.
Both high bandwidth and low latency memory technologies are still years away and the designs are subject to change, but so far they are both plans are looking rather promising. I am intrigued by the possibilities and hope to see new products take advantage of the increased performance (and in the latter case lower cost). On the graphics front, HBM3 is way too far out to see a Vega release, but it may come just in time for AMD to incorporate it into its high end Navi GPUs, and by 2020 the battle between GDDR and HBM in the mainstream should be heating up.
What are your thoughts on the proposed HBM technologies?
Subject: Memory | August 20, 2016 - 05:25 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X99, Samsung, ripjaws, overclocking, G.Skill, ddr4, Broadwell-E
Early this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, California G.Skill showed off new low latency DDR4 memory modules for desktop and notebooks. The company launched two Trident series DDR4 3333 MHz kits and one Ripjaws branded DDR4 3333 MHz SO-DIMM. While these speeds are not close to the fastest we have seen from them, these modules offer much tighter timings. All of the new memory modules use Samsung 8Gb chips and will be available soon.
On the desktop side of things, G.Skill demonstrated a 128GB (8x16GB) DDR4-3333 kit with CAS latencies of 14-14-14-34 running on a Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard with an Intel Core i7 6800K processor. They also showed a 64GB (8x8GB) kit clocked at 3333 MHz with timings of 13-13-13-33 running on a system with the same i7 6800K and Asus X99 Deluxe II motherboard.
G.Skill demonstrating 128GB DDR4-3333 memory kit at IDF 2016.
In addition to the desktop DIMMs, G.Skill showed a 32GB Ripjaws kit (2x16GB) clocked at 3333 MHz running on an Intel Skull Canyon NUC. The SO-DIMM had timings of 16-18-18-43 and ran at 1.35V.
Nowadays lower latency is not quite as important as it once was, but there is still a slight performance advantage to be had tighter timings and pure clockspeed is not the only important RAM metric. Overclocking can get you lower CAS latencies (sometimes at the cost of more voltage), but if you are not into that tedious process and are buying RAM anyway you might as well go for the modules with the lowest latencies out of the box at the clockspeeds you are looking for. I am not sure how popular RAM overclocking is these days outside of benchmark runs and extreme overclockers though to be honest.
Overclocking Innovation session at IDF 2016.
With regards to extreme overclocking, there was reportedly an "Overclocking Innovation" event at IDF where G.Skill and Asus overclocker Elmor achieved a new CPU overclocking record of 5,731.78 MHz on the i7 6950X running on a system with G.Skill memory and Asus motherboard. The company's DDR4 record of 5,189.2 MHz was not beaten at the event, G.Skill notes in its press release (heh).
Are RAM timings important to you when looking for memory? What are your thoughts on the ever increasing clocks of new DDR4 kits with how overclocking works on the newer processors/motherboards?
Subject: Memory | August 17, 2016 - 08:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Corsair Dominator Platinum, corsair, ddr4-3200
It will certainly cost you quite a bit to pick up but if you have a need for a huge pool of memory the 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3200 kit is an option worth considering. The default timings are 16-18-18-36 and the heat spreader and DHX cooling fins keep the DIMMs from heating up, even when Overclockers Club upped the voltage to 1.45V. Part of the price premium is the testing which was done before these DIMMs left the factory, as well as the custom PCB and hand picked ICs which should translate to a minimum of issues running at their full speed or even when overclocked. Pop by to see how this kit performed in OC's benchmarks.
"If I break it down, you get a set of modules that have been through an extensive binning process that hand selects the memory ICs being used on these modules. There is a custom designed, cooling optimized PCB that those memory IC's are mounted to so that we can enjoy a trouble free user experience. The DHX cooling solution on these modules is easily up to the task of keeping the modules cool with minimal airflow. The heat spreader and DHX cooling fins are designed to use convective cooling in the absence of any airflow over the modules."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 @ Benchmark Reviews
- G.Skill TridentZ 3866 MHz 2x 4GB DDR4 @ techPowerUp
- 32GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 @ eTeknix