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Next-Gen DRAM Will Spur Faster Servers, 64-Bit Apps

More than a few users have new computers running 64-bit operating systems that cannot run existing software (e.g., Adobe Flash) because the software has not yet been delivered for the 64-bit architecture. There are also enterprises waiting to run their data center servers in the swifter 64-bit environment that have everything in place except the applications.

Software delivery for 64-bit operating systems has been traveling down a slow but steady route into the corporate and consumer mainstreams. Developments like 4GB DDR3 (double data rate) DRAM with very high densities may soon change that. As faster DRAM comes on board, computing bottlenecks are likely to shift to other areas, like slower-running 32-bit operating systems and the 32-bit applications that are built for them.

"The 32-bit operating systems and 32-bit applications limit speed and also the user experience," says John Lucas, a PR manager for Samsung. Consumers who watch their video games stall understand the problem with 32-bit OSs and applications, he says, and the introduction of 4GB DDR3 DRAM will push OS and application developers to speed up their work on 64-bit operating systems and applications.

"The announcement by Samsung of 4GB DDR3 DRAM comes around the same time that it is announcing a 45-nanometer version of DDR2 DRAM," says Bob Merritt, a founding partner at Convergent Semiconductors, a storage and memory research firm. "What is common to both products is the 45-nanometer process. This tells server manufacturers and others that there is a stable manufacturing process that exists with DDR2 DRAM that will be carried forward to 4GB DDR3 DRAM."

The new chip doubles the density of earlier DRAM chips and can be packaged into modules with a capacity of up to 32 GB. The chips eventually will appear in a variety of products, including use in crowded data centers that are trying to reduce the amount of heat generated by electronics. Enterprise IT managers, consumers, and manufacturers seem ready for a "next generation" of DRAM as they contemplate cloud computing initiatives, which present a picture of virtual Internet resources that provide data center power behind large numbers of mobile and desktop devices in enterprises and with the growth of more resource-intensive consumer mobile devices.

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