At the Intel Developer Forum held in San Francisco this year Intel’s partners showed off new hardware they were working on in conjunction with the company. In particular, Samsung, Hynix, Kingston and G.Skill all showed off their working DDR4 memory.
Kingston’s booth had the only working modules on show. The company packed twelve 16GB modules into an Intel motherboard of unknown make and model, with two Haswell-E processors for a total of 192GB of addressable RAM at DDR4-2133MHz.
DDR4 modules run at a much lower voltage than their DDR3 counterparts – 1.2v compared to 1.5v on average. The JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard for DDR4 starts with a minimum speed of 2133MHz and tops out at a planned 3200MHz. The major benefit compared to DDR3 is lower power consumption and the ability to pack 128GB onto a single stick of memory.
DDR4 modules were on a roadmap for release and consumer availability in 2013 by the JEDEC standard, but lack of compatible hardware from Intel and AMD has slowed adoption. Intel’s first available hardware to work with DDR4 will be the Haswell-E family in 2014, while AMD’s first confirmed DDR4-compatible product will be a range of ARM Cortex A57-based servers to be released in 2014.
With single DDR4 modules starting at 8GB capacities, what could the future hold for games based on the technology? Its possible that, thanks to Microsoft’s Tiled Resources technology in Windows 8.1 and AMD’s heterogeneuous universal memory access (hUMA) plans, textures in games will grow larger and look better.”Life-like” may be the term thrown around by developers showing off their new games in 2015.
Games set in a sandbox world could theoretically also be loaded entirely into system memory, reducing level load times and reducing pop-in of objects that the game engine has to render.