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Definition: SDRAM


(Synchronous DRAM) The type of dynamic RAM memory chip in wide use since the mid-1990s. SDRAM divides the chip into two cell blocks and interleaves data between them. While a bit in one block is accessed, a bit in the other is prepared for access. See dynamic RAM.

DDR (Double Data Rate) Since 2000
DDR SDRAM doubled the data transfer rate by using both the rising and falling edges of the clock cycle, and more speed is achieved with each generation (see below).

Memory Channels
Motherboards may support one, two or four channels. More than one channel requires installing modules in a prescribed order (see image below). See GDDR.

        Clock    Transfer        DIMM
        Speed      Rate         Module
 DDR    (MHz)     (MT/s)    (V)  Pins

 DDR5 1600-3200  3200-6400  1.1  288
 DDR4  800-1600  1600-3200  1.2  284
 DDR3  400-1200   800-2400  1.5  240
 DDR2  200-533    533-800   1.8  240
 DDR   100-200    200-400   2.5  184
 SDRAM  66-133     66-133   3.3  168




Matched Slots for Dual Channel
Dual-channel motherboards use colored sockets so that DDR memory modules are inserted in pairs. These interleaved DIMM slots support one yellow pair and one black pair.






DDR RAM Modules Are "Keyed"
This example shows the notching of three DDR generations. Modules and slots are "keyed" to prevent the wrong DDR version from being inserted. See memory module.






A Little Nostalgia
These 12 bits of magnetic core memory from the Whirlwind computer of the early 1950s take up about a quarter of a square inch. Today, that much space holds billions of bits. (Image courtesy of The MITRE Corporation Archives.)