Intel's Next-Generation Server Promises

Quad Channel Memory Controller With FB-DImms

Blackford and Green Creek are going to introduce Fully Buffered DIMMs for the first time. A so-called buffer chip on each DIM module is used to create serial point-to-point connects between the memory controller and each of the installed memory modules. While classic memory setups will cause a high load for the memory controller with the number of memory banks installed increasing, FB-DIMMs can be lined up into a much deeper queue. As a byproduct, the motherboard routing for DB-DIMM boards is very simple.

One highly interesting feature is the mirroring option for the main memory. While the memory controller of Blackford and Green Creek support quad-channel operations, the two independent lockstep pairs allow for running a mirrored two channel setup that works like a memory RAID 1.

In addition to that, Intel runs 'posted CAS', a feature which allows for activating the column address strobe clocks ahead of when it would be initiated originally. A thermal monitoring feature is available to throttle memory activity when reaching a chip temperature threshold.

Blackford also supports DIMM sparing. This will allow administrators to install replacement DIM modules into machines running a mirrored setup. Should one of the modules ever fail, the replacement will be there to take over. However, these features as well as the option to run as much as 64 GB of RAM require a large amount of DIMM sockets - which likely won't be deployed with standard products.

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