The time for DDR is finally here. With memory prices dropping to the level of conventional SDRAM, there few reasons for buying an Athlon computer based on SDRAM.
Double Data Rate SDRAM is able to provide twice the bandwidth of Single Data Rate by transferring data both on the rising and the falling edge of the clock signal. Graphics cards based on GeForce2, GeForce 3 or Radeon chips have already been taking advantage of this fast memory technology for almost two years now.
Right now, there are four Athlon chipsets available that come with DDR support: ALi's MaGiK-1, the SiS 735, the VIA KT266 and the AMD 760, of course. While all four chipsets work reliably, the ALi and VIA products are not quite able to unleash the full potential of DDR SDRAM - as the new SiS 735 and the AMD 760 do. However, there is still a long way to go for SiS, as they are primarily known as manufacturer of low-end products. Though the SiS 735 is a good performer, it will be difficult for the company to introduce it to the mid-range market. That leaves the AMD 760 as the go to choice right now.
The performance advantage of DDR memory over SDR is usually between 5 and 10%. With some applications, you won't see any difference at all, while bandwidth-intensive software might see up to 30% improvement. However, there are three reasons why DDR is the memory to choose: First, DDR actually enhances performance (Rambus DRAM was never able to live up to expectations). Second, the current price difference between DDR and SDR SDRAM is getting to be negligible. Lastly, mobo manufacturers did not release their DDR-enabled products in a hurry, but took the time to make sure that their chipsets work reliably. That means that DDR Athlon mobos are now ready for the mainstream.