Memory Module Usage

White Paper

May-20-2008

In today’s computer world, the ever-changing technology has been a challenge to system designers and engineers when it comes to keeping up with speed. Choosing an optimal system memory plays a vital role in the performance and reliability of the system. Planning of the system memory is critical as memory is an upgradeable entity that requires foresight and intuition. The system designer not only has to select memory type and capacity for the current applications, but should also plans for future expansions. This careful planning ensures that the system will be able to run future applications.

How does one go about in choosing and planning system memory? The main factor would depend on the system’s memory controller, as it is the limiting factor in determining the type and capacity of the memory. Therefore, it is important to review the memory controller features in depth during selection time. Other factors that affect the decision process include memory form factor, application environment such as server, desktop or mobile, physical environment such as temperature and humidity. Once all these variables have been established, the designer’s memory selection process is much easier.

The industry standard memory form factor is memory modules. They allow easy system integration as well as flexibility in terms of future upgrades. Memory modules come in many different varieties to accommodate the designer’s needs. Attributes such as pin count, ECC/non-ECC, buffered/unbuffered are some of the varieties in existence. A memory module going into a server will have vastly different attributes than that of a notebook’s memory module. Server memory needs to be more robust than notebook memory, therefore they are usually buffered and utilize ECC implementation. Physical attributes such as footprint also differ between server and notebook memory modules. Server modules are usually fabricated on DIMM (Dual In-Line Memory Module) substrate whereas notebook modules are on SODIMM (Small Outline Dual In-Line Module) substrate. Industrial computing prefers wider range of operating temperature, -40°C to 85°C memory modules, whereas in commercial use it is not necessary. If performance is an important component of the overall design, increasing the number of banks will add interleaving thus boosting the performance level. Another important aspect in designing memory subsystem is to ensure maximum airflow around the memory modules, this will allow the memory to perform at its optimal level and increasing the reliability.

Standard footprints and attributes do not always satisfy a creative designer’s needs, sometimes custom memory modules are required for a specific application. This is where Accelerated Memory Production Inc. can be a great resource of developing and manufacturing custom memory modules.

In summary, it is important to plan ahead when designing a memory subsystem to ensure its capabilities for future computing.
 


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The Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC) was formed in 1958 as a part of the Electronic Industries Association (EIA). In 1999, JEDEC was incorporated as an independent association under the name, The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (thereby abandoning any reference to the original acronym). This new organization then became a recognized sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), and maintains that relationship today.

JEDEC is the leading developer of standards for the solid-state industry. Almost 3,300 participants, appointed by some 300 companies work together in 50 JEDEC committees to meet the needs of every segment of the industry, manufacturers and consumers alike. The publications and standards that they generate are accepted throughout the world.