AMD-branded RAM starts popping up in stores

No, this is no joke—unless we’re the victims of an extraordinarily elaborate prank. It appears that AMD has quietly started selling DDR3 system memory under its Radeon brand. The guys over at PC Watch in Japan found some of the RAM in the wild, and they dug up a page on AMD’s website that confirms the product’s existence.

AMD says Radeon DDR3 memory is "ideally suited" to the company’s processors and "tested to the highest industry standards on AMD platforms to guarantee reliability and performance." Right now, the product line includes 2GB Entertainment modules (rated for operation at 1333MHz with 9-9-9 timings) and 2GB Ultrapro Gaming modules (which can hit 1600MHz at 11-11-11). The company is also cooking up Enterprise modules with as-of-yet-undisclosed clocks and timings. All three modules are apparently designed to operate at their rated speeds with a 1.5V voltage setting—the JEDEC-specified standard for DDR3. Judging by the pictures at PC Watch, the memory chips are etched with AMD’s logo—clearly, this isn’t a case of a big memory vendor like Kingston or OCZ slapping a Radeon badge on some of its modules.

Japan isn’t the only country where these modules have materialized, by the way. A Google search reveals that a couple of Canadian e-tailers, NCIX and DirectCanada, are also carrying 1333MHz "Entertainment" Radeon modules. The DIMMs are sold individually, not as part of a kit, and cost $9.99 at pop at NCIX.

This discovery leaves me scratching my head. I’d understand if AMD were offering DDR3-1866 modules specially tuned for its Llano APUs, or even just top-of-the-line enthusiast RAM in preparation for its upcoming Bulldozer chips. However, 2GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs are a dime a dozen these days, and prices are heading further down. We’ll have to get to the bottom of this… (Thanks to Fudzilla for the link.)

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Yeah, I don’t understand this either. RAM isn’t exactly a rare commodity now days and it always seems to devalue itself as there is so much of it. It’s a terrible time to get into the business or producing it. Even OCZ bailed, which has made memory forever.

    Although there are a few budding PC builders that might fall into the ‘everything has to be AMD’ headlights, most are smart enough to realize ram is ram for the most part as long as you buy the right type. Even speed has relatively little meaning.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    hmmm…me no likey. is this a sign of things to come? whats stoping AMTI from creating their own ultra basturd version of RDRAM and cornering the market for their specific chipsets? I say this because this isnt AMD’s niche at all, and the fact that they dove into this when the market is already saturated with very low cost modules…seems rather odd.

    • mutarasector
    • 8 years ago

    “This discovery leaves me scratching my head. I’d understand if AMD were offering DDR3-1866 modules specially tuned for its Llano APUs, or even just top-of-the-line enthusiast RAM in preparation for its upcoming Bulldozer chips. However, 2GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs are a dime a dozen these days, and prices are heading further down. We’ll have to get to the bottom of this… ”

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. The testing results of 1600 and 1866 you guys did a write up just a few days ago seem to indicate that Llano doesn’t derive a whole lot of benefit from high performance memory, largely because of the lower clock on the Radeons. These AMD Radeon branded memory modules sound just about right for top end Llano desktops if you ask me.

    • not@home
    • 8 years ago

    I do not know much about this stuff, but could it be that they are using small ram chips to test out and find bugs in a new process node before making big CPU chips on that node?

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      AMD’s CPUs use Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) process technology; I’m pretty sure DRAM chips use standard bulk silicon. AFAIK the two are different enough that it really doesn’t make sense to use one to test/debug the other. (SOI is also rather expensive for commodity parts like DRAM.)

        • Palek
        • 8 years ago

        Just to clarify: DRAM chips are not manufactured using standard bulk silicon by fab companies like TSMC and UMC.

        Hynix, Nanya, Elpida, Samsung, Winbond and the other DRAM chip makers use dedicated DRAM fabs. DRAMs are highly regular in their structure – massive 2D arrays of DRAM bit cells – and thus need different manufacturing know-how and can utilize different process tweaks.

        If you do a quick search for “DRAM process” you’ll get hits like 25nm, 42nm, 70nm etc. That alone will tell you DRAM is a different beast.

    • maxxcool
    • 8 years ago

    This just a test. And if successful probably a way they can “brand” full or oem bare bones setups with the big three. Amd cpu, Amd certified boards and certified ram in one complete platform.

    with those ram timings i will bet they are buying bulk consumer ram that failed 9cas and are testing and re-branding them for little profit at all.

    • JMccovery
    • 8 years ago

    So, the 4GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill kit I bought a while back would be considered an ‘Ultrapro Gaming’ kit, since it can run 1600 at 11-11-11?

    And wouldn’t that make MOST 9-9-9 1333 ‘Entertainment’ modules ‘Ultrapro Gaming’ modules too?

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I would think that someone at Kingston or Samsung thought about using the AMD brand and talked to them about it. Or the other way around.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      I have a couple of Kingston 1GB DDR3-1333 modules here and I compared it to the AMD modules. They’re literally the same except for the branding. Maybe these ARE Kingston modules. Kingston can easily plug in 2Gb RAM chips on the same PCB.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      I think this is exactly it.

    • worldbfree
    • 8 years ago

    I could be wrong, but I thought I remembered AMD ram a long time ago, anyone sure they ever stopped making it?

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      These are not a continuing product line.

      AMD has been involved in a wide range of products over the years, including FLASH production and even NICs. However, they sold off pretty much everything except the CPU and chipset businesses prior to, or shortly after, the ATi merger.

    • smilingcrow
    • 8 years ago

    Companies like Corsair and OCZ (before they quit the RAM business) buy in the actual RAM chips and assemble and test the RAM modules themselves. If AMD are simply buying in pre-assembled modules and putting an AMD sticker on them then I can’t see there’s much value in that. But then again we live in a world where many people seem to buy based on the label as much as the product.
    Not sure if the fanboys will go for this though as they tend to want premium parts and these don’t seem to have a known provenance or good specs.
    A nice curio for a Monday and maybe they will be worth something as a collectors item if they don’t sell in volume; an ideal present for a fanboy geek in 20 years time. 😉

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    This is mostly likely a test run to see if OEMs will pick up on it. It is mostly likey meant for Fusion platform.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      OEMs? Not that I really know Mr. Krogoth, but I always figured they have even more buying power than the rebadgers, so they just get it straight from Samsung or whoever.

      But as for the Fusion thing, I would figure it’s closely tied in brand building, as the next step in “fusing” parts will undoubtedly be integrating RAM for the GPU.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      Surely OEMs buy from as close to the source as possible for the best prices which would preclude buying from companies that don’t actually manufacture the chips and assemble the modules themselves?

      Edit. Dell for instance seems to mainly use Samsung, Hynix and Nanya none of which have a large presence if any at all through retail channels.

    • maroon1
    • 8 years ago

    11-11-11 for DDR3 1600Mhz ?

    Those ram have horrible timing

      • Waco
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed. I didn’t even realize 11-11-11 timings were available for 1600 MHz DDR3.

      • bittermann
      • 8 years ago

      A quick look on Newegg shows they only offer C10 as the slowest 1600MHz timings….yikes!

      • hansmuff
      • 8 years ago

      They do, but consider that with those slow timings, they probably work even in the most horrible OEM board imaginable. It’s pros and cons 🙂

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    Well, it costs very little to rebrand sticks that are being made by someone else. Make enough of ’em, and I’m sure the DRAM chip vendor is willing to etch your logo on the chips too.

    Still, this seems to make very little business sense. I don’t think most people would be willing to pay much of a premium for AMD-branded RAM, and RAM profit margins are already razor thin (or negative).

    • rv55
    • 8 years ago

    This is a branding product. And it’s being test marketed or it would be in widespread markets.

    A custom car builder wouldn’t put Chevy valve covers on a Ford engine. AMD is testing to see if enthusiasts would buy the branded product, which is comparable in performance, to complete their builds.

    AMD is not in the ram foundry business, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t sell a product with their brand. Sales is sales doesn’t matter what it is, potato chips or computer chips.

    There are those who would call the idea stupid, but simply put brand expansion and diversification is common in the marketplace.

    And why not, if you are building out with a see-through case why not stick with the brand that you like.

      • TheEmrys
      • 8 years ago

      “A custom car builder wouldn’t put Chevy valve covers on a Ford engine.”

      Tell that to the thousands of classic Chevy drivers who have a Ford 9″ rear end.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 8 years ago

      They don’t put bowtie covers on a Ford engine because the bolt pattern doesn’t match. You can’t say that with the DRAM module as it conforms to a standard. (just busting your balls)

      • xeridea
      • 8 years ago

      Mmmmm potato chips. Reminds me of “Its all about the Pentiums” by Weird Al.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      The cost associated with it just being a marketing stunt to spread their brand is quite high… there is a bunch of other things they could do to spread their brand name if they really wanted to, including plain out advertising.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    Seems like a pretty dumb idea given that RAM is a commodity and it’s hard to sell it at an appreciable profit.

    I give it a year at the most before they discover this and they become curios.

    • I.S.T.
    • 8 years ago

    Unless you’re building a Llano system, you’d be better off with the Entertainment sticks…

    • LSDX
    • 8 years ago

    Strange indeed.

    Especially since they outsourced their fabs to Global Foundries.
    Maybe AMD is contractually forced to lease a certain percentage of GF fabs’ capacity, and didn’t have enough orders for CPU and GPU products, so they made GF build DDR chips instead.

      • TheEmrys
      • 8 years ago

      Calling GF an “outsourcer” is a bit of a stretch.

    • Aveon
    • 8 years ago

    My guess is AMD want’s to gets rid of it’s surplus store of flash memories

      • Novum
      • 8 years ago

      DRAM has nothing to do with flash.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Wow: total misunderstanding of a technical point and not one but [i<]two[/i<] apostrophe mistakes in the same sentence. You're just a "sheeple" reference away from a One Line Comment Fail Trifecta.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]This discovery leaves me scratching my head. I'd understand if AMD were offering DDR3-1866 modules specially tuned for its Llano APUs, or even just top-of-the-line enthusiast RAM in preparation for its upcoming Bulldozer chips. However, 2GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs are a dime a dozen these days, and prices are heading further down. We'll have to get to the bottom of this...[/quote<] I concur. AMD shouldn't see big profit right now with this modules so i don't see why they ventured into this business. Maybe they started this a long time ago and they just had bad luck since they entered the market when the prices are at a record low. Or maybe they are more interested in the professional market where they think they could sell more untis...idk. [quote<]Judging by the pictures at PC Watch, the memory chips are etched with AMD's logo—clearly, this isn't a case of a big memory vendor like Kingston or OCZ slapping a Radeon badge on some of its modules.[/quote<] From this statement should we understand that AMD has it's own fabs where they produce this modules? I thought they would rebadge modules manufactured by other companies like Elpidia, Hynix or what have you.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]From this statement should we understand that AMD has it's own fabs where they produce this modules? I thought they would rebadge modules manufactured by other companies like Elpidia, Hynix or what have you.[/quote<] No to the first, unless they announce otherwise, yes to the second. A company like AMD can easily custom order whatever they want. I think what Cyril meant is that it isn't a third-party contract where they get, say, Kingston to test out a batch of finished Kingston-branded modules and then switch the sticker.

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