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A Look At AMD's Socket AM2 Platform

RAM Needed!

Most computers today are equipped with 512 MB or 1 GB of memory. While a gigabyte still seems to be fairly enough, we predict that 2 GB will be the reasonable minimum for those who want to do more than just occasional gaming or browsing the Internet by the end of this year. This not only applies to particular applications and their increasing demands for RAM (let's not forget Microsoft Windows Vista either) but will be the consequence of changing user behavior as well. Dual and multi core processors provide enough performance to process multiple tasks simultaneously, and they help to eliminate annoying system delays even with more and more services running in the background. So why should users think of shutting down demanding applications before launching other programs?

They won't! A few weeks ago I caught myself running a multitude of programs on my desktop PC. This is something I would not have done two years ago, because system responsiveness would have been poor. Thanks to the dual core processor there is enough performance to run and switch tasks, and 2 GB or of more system memory makes sure application data does not get swapped to the hard drive.

So what does this have to do with AMD's upcoming platform?

AMD Embraces The Sweet Spot, Jumps On Intel's Timing

We have no reason to doubt AMD's statement that the switch from DDR to DDR2 technically could have been made in 2005. With DDR2 being more expensive than DDR, and unable to increase system performance by a reasonable amount, what sense would that have made? The answer clearly is "none". We do not want to speculate over the existence of a bug in current silicon as reported on the web, since the processor we used is too far away from mass-production anyway.

The adoption of DDR2 memory for Intel-powered systems turned out to be much slower than expected, and the breakthrough was not until the introduction of DDR2 support for the mobile platform. While this did not actually hurt Intel, such a slow technology adoption last year could have stopped the recent tailwind that has put AMD into its current favorable position.

The situation is different now. While there is still little performance benefit in using DDR2, memory configurations of over 1 GB are going to be cheaper soon with DDR2. It won't be long until regular 1 GB DDR2 DIMMs-non-enthusiast products-will hit the price points that are currently occupied by basic DDR400. Finally, 2 and 4 GB RAM configurations will become fairly affordable. Introducing a new platform while waiting for the memory to become reasonably priced is pretty much like the story of the chicken and the egg: which comes first? Fortunately, since both AMD and Intel are making the switch to DDR2-800 at the same time, we expect this transition to be both quick and beneficial to everyone.