DDR3L: Ready for Prime Time

Published 5/5/2011

In our post on DDR3L, we talked about the power saving version of DDR3 memory. DRAM manufacturers have ramped up production of DDR3L, and it is now about to reach price parity with DDR3 and become mainstream due to its capability to be dual-voltage.

Price-Parity Means Mainstream

As DRAM manufacturers shrink their dies and/or increase their yields of DDR3L, they soon reach a point where the majority of their DRAM output becomes DDR3L or dual-voltage, handling 1.5V or 1.35V voltages. At that point, they just produce DDR3L DRAMs and sell it at the same price. We have just reached that point, and Kingston is about to release server memory modules with DDR3L DRAMs, making them dual-voltage; the new server modules will be noted with an “LV” suffix, but can be used in older DDR3 servers.

How Servers Control Voltage

If you install DDR3L modules in an Intel Xeon 5600, Opteron 6100 or 4100 based server, you will have options to set either 1.5V or 1.35V memory operation in the server’s configuration. Older servers will just see the modules as standard 1.5V DDR3, and set memory voltage to 1.5V.

Loading Up Memory in Servers?

For example, an HP ProLiant DL380 G6 server will see the DDR3Lmemory as 1.5V DDR3, but a G7 server will have the option to run it as either 1.5V or 1.35V memory. DDR3L will be ideal for HP ProLiant G7 servers which can support 18 modules at 1.35V; 144GB of memory using 8GB LV modules can be supported at 1.35V and 800MT/s, same as for 8GB standard DDR3 memory. This will allow for high memory capacity while delivering about 15% reduction in memory power consumption at 1.35V – an easy decision now as the price for 8GB DDR3L memory has reached parity with standard 8GB DDR3 modules. 16GB DDR3L memory modules will be available soon, further driving up memory capacity. Refer to www.kingston.com for DDR3L-capable system compatibility and support.

DDR3L will be the greener memory option until 1.25V Ultra Low Voltage DDR3U memory is ready for launch.

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Author: Richard Kanadjian - Kingston Technology