AMD plots earlier Phenom II support for DDR3 memory

AMD could add support for DDR3 memory to Phenom II desktops earlier than projected, the company said.

Advanced Micro Devices could bring DDR3 memory support to Phenom II desktops earlier than it had projected, the company said on Monday.

The company aims to add DDR3 support to Phenom II by the middle of 2009, but could push that up depending on factors including pricing of the memory, said John Taylor, an AMD spokesman.

To support DDR3 memory, the company will introduce the AM3 socket, Taylor said. Motherboards with the AM3 socket will support AMD's upcoming Phenom II CPU.

AM3's launch could be as early as "a few" months after the release of the Phenom II processor, which is scheduled for launch in January.

"We want to look at hitting the market at the right time with the right product," Taylor said. The company will take into account the cost of DDR3 memory and the benefits it delivers to customers before deciding on a release date, he said.

AMD plans to transition to DDR3 memory support for servers with the Maranello platform in 2010. The Maranello platform includes the six-core Sao Paulo and 12-core Magny-Cours chips.

DDR3 is a new form of memory that offers larger bandwidth for quicker data transfers in PCs than DDR2 memory. As processors get faster, DDR3 provides faster communication between the CPU and the memory that could boost system performance, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

DDR3 memory will boost performance of the already-speedy Phenom II-based machines, he said. However, DDR3 memory is expensive as it's relatively new, he noted.

AMD has overclocked the Phenom II processor to run at up to 4GHz on air-cooled systems, and up to 5GHz on liquid-nitrogen cooling, Taylor said. The first Phenom II chips will be quad-core processors and will include 8M bytes of cache, according to the company's chip road map. AMD declined to provide pricing information for Phenom II.

Intel's Core i7 processor for gaming systems, launched last week, already supports DDR3 memory.

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