AMD has been marketing its own brand of memory for several months, and selling its own Ramdisk software as a performance-boosting option to customers to boot. That program has apparently been at least modestly successful, as the company is stepping up the campaign with a new type of Radeon
memory and a new enthusiast class of product.
The new Radeon RG2133 RAM is designed for low-latency operation (AMD claims a CAS latency as low as seven via overclocking profiles) and runs at 2133MHz at 1.65v. AMD's RamDisk software also gets a performance boost (if you deploy it), since using higher-speed memory also boosts RAM performance. It's notable, however, that the 4x4GB kit that AMD is selling at DDR3-2133 only allows for a maximum of 16GB of RAM unless you've got an X79 motherboard. If you wanted to play with a Ramdisk, you'd be better off opting for the slower RAM configurations, which offer 2x 8GB configurations.
The performance gains from nearly doubling the RAMDisk speed are fairly modest in any case.
AMD is positioning its memory as a win for both Intel and AMD's own CPUs, but there's some question here. Intel's own spec sheets have stated that 1.5v is preferred since the launch of Core i7
. It's not that 1.65v is a guaranteed problem spec, but there are DDR3-2133 alternatives from companies like Mushkin and Corsair that run at 1.5v rather than 1.65v. Given that Intel explicitly recommends lower voltage memory, AMD's 1.65v spec could push some buyers away.
Right now, NewEgg is showing 16GB of AMD Radeon memory for $155. That's about midrange for the category, and the specified latency (10-11-11-30) is competitive with the products from other manufacturers. For those of you who've deployed Ramdisks, have you kept using the Radeon solution? To date, AMD's CEO, Rory Read, has said little about the success or failure of the Radeon memory initiative, implying that the impact on the company's balance sheet has been minimal to date.