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Written by Olin Coles   
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
DDR3 RAM: System Memory Technology Explained
DDR3: Efficiency
Prefetch Buffer and Speed
Overclocker Functionality
Final Opinion on DDR3 RAM

DDR3 Memory: Technology Explained

These are uncertain financial times we live in today, and the rise and fall of our economy has had direct affect on consumer spending. It has already been one full year now that DDR3 has been patiently waiting for the enthusiast community to give it proper consideration, yet it's success is still undermined by misconceptions and high price. Benchmark Reviews has been testing DDR3 more actively than anyone, which is why over fifteen different kits fill our System Memory section of reviews. Sadly, it might take an article like this to open the eyes of my fellow hardware enthusiast and overclocker, because it seems like DDR3 is the technology nobody wants bad enough to learn about. Pity, because DDR3 is the key to extreme overclocking.

Benchmark Reviews DDR3 Testing Group

First and foremost, DDR3 is not just a faster version of DDR2. In fact, the worst piece of misinformation I see spread in enthusiast forums is how DDR3 simply picks up speed where DDR2 left off... which is as accurate as saying an airplane picks up where a kite left off. DDR3 does improve upon the previous generation in certain shared areas, and the refined fabrication process has allowed for a more efficient integrated circuit (IC) module. Although DDR3 doesn't share the same pin connections or key placements, it does still share the DIMM profile and overall appearance. From a technical perspective however, this is where the similarities end.

Benchmark Reviews DDR3 Series Natural Overclock Results - Stock Voltage and Latency

For over six months now, I have personally devoted a large amount of time towards testing this new system memory standard. Sadly, most of my efforts have gone unappreciated; DDR3 was too far ahead of it's time to be adopted early on. Yet, even though DDR2 has clearly reached its limit, the cost of production combined with a wide-scale recession will further harm acceptance of the new format. But are you really missing anything? I could give you a simple 'yes', but that's what I've already been saying for many months now. Instead, I invite you learn about what you're losing...


  • Now supports a system level flight time compensation
  • Mirror-friendly DRAM pin out are now contained on-DIMM
  • CAS Write latency are now issued to each speed bin
  • Asynchronous reset function is available for the first time in SDRAM
  • I/O calibration engine monitors flight time and correction levels
  • Automatic data bus line read and write calibration


  • Higher bandwidth performance increase, up to 1600 MHz per spec
  • DIMM-terminated 'fly-by' command bus
  • Constructed with high-precision load line calibration resistors
  • Performance increase at low power input
  • Enhanced low power features conserve energy
  • Improved thermal design now operates DIMM cooler



# DD3 ExplainedGordon R 2010-03-06 16:50
I commend you for taking on this task and for the excellent job you did in explaining the technology. By reading this article I was able to avoid making some potentially costly and irrevelent purchases. Keep up the good work!
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# good1markIV 2010-09-22 08:39
good to great explanation. keep it on.
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# Nice OneDerek 2011-07-26 23:36
Its great to see someone that has the passion to do a test like this, in order for the novoice PC user to increase memory for better performance! Having said this and recently a iMac convertee, Am I wasting my time increasing the DDR3 memory for bette performance?
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# RE: Nice OneDavid Ramsey 2011-07-27 06:57
Yes, you'd be wasting your time, since you can't tweak the memory timing on any Mac. You can put faster memory in it, but it will run at whatever speed is built into the machine. You can, of course, tweak memory timing to your heart's content on a Hackintosh.
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# Nice One v1Derek 2011-07-27 23:31
Thanks David, I may have misled you. I was refering to increasing the memory from a standard 8MB to 16MB. As you maybe aware that the new iMac has a 2 slot "option" underneath the monitor.
I was not refering to any of the above you mention! As I do not understand "memory timing" Ihope this explains it better.
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# RE: Nice One v1David Ramsey 2011-07-28 08:13
Sorry, I misunderstood. Yes, more memory is always better!
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