Intel proposes universal memory slots
The recent debut of the high-end Intel X99 DDR4 platform hinted of the upcoming demise of the current widely popular DDR3 memory but it seems that this memory type will stick around for a few more years thanks to Intel itself. The acclaimed US company will keep on supporting DDR3 SDRAM along with DDR4 in the next few years because Intel thinks DDR4 will see its days of glory not earlier than 2016.
The discovery that the integrated memory controller in Haswell-E chips supports both DDR3 and DDR4 memory only confirms this information. In fact Intel plans to release future chips that will support both DDR3 and DDR4 memory but there’s more – in order to ease users and motherboard makers Intel has proposed usage of universal memory slots that support both DDR3 and DDR4 memory modules. The new Intel initiative is known as UniDIMM and is now supported by Micron and Kingston.
Don’t get too excited though – DDR3 memory has 240 pins, while DDR4 uses 288 pins, which makes the two types of memory incompatible. To solve this problem Intel will use new memory slots that will require new DDR3/DDR4 memory modules. In addition you will not be able to use both types of memory at the same time and motherboards that use the new memory slots will have to include a modified memory voltage regulator that will make them a little more expensive than usual.
The first UniDIMM slots will see the light of day along with the upcoming Intel Skylake processors. It still remains to be seen if UniDIMM will capture the attention of both motherboard makers and users but no matter what happens it is still a very interesting technical solution.