This summer, we were surprised to learn that AMD was quietly selling system memory under its own brand name in Japan. Now, it seems, the company is ready to take this initiative to North America. This morning's announcement on the subject says AMD has partnered with Patriot and VisionTek to offer DDR3 modules under the AMD Memory banner in this corner of the world. Modules will be available from major e-tailers including Amazon, Newegg, Micro Center, and TigerDirect.
You can expect such e-tailers to start bundling the memory with other AMD products—one of the advantages of this venture, according to AMD. The new modules will purportedly make things easier for consumers, as well, because they'll be tuned for the chipmaker's various processors, APUs, and motherboard chipsets. (AMD talks of using its OverDrive software tool to "test and optimize DRAM.")
Here's what the AMD Memory lineup will look like:
AMD Memory is available at three different levels - 2GB, 4GB and 8GB sizes - in a range of price points and speeds. The Entertainment category will feature 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz speed RAM, designed for quiet Home Theater PC applications. The Performance version supports speed up to 1600 MHz with low latency and comes in matched pairs. Finally, Radeon™ Edition DRAM will run at 1866 MHz, and is tuned, tested and certified for specific AMD platforms to enable maximum performance at competitive pricing.
Both A-series and FX-series AMD processors support 1866MHz RAM, so the Radeon-branded modules could look right at home in neighboring DIMM slots. Of course, that will all depend on how much the modules cost. Our testing suggests that DDR3-1866 RAM doesn't pay very big performance dividends with A-series APUs, so depending on the price premium, you could just be better off buying a faster chip with slower RAM.
AMD is no stranger to the memory business; it already has a history of supplying DDR3 RAM, along with its GPUs, to graphics card makers. This time, however, AMD is going to be butting heads with established memory vendors in a market where margins are slim and delivering added value is difficult. Less than a year ago, OCZ decided to pull out of DRAM and focus on SSDs, complaining of shrinking revenues and market weakness. DRAM prices have continued to decline since.
I'm sure some users will get a warm, fuzzy feeling from getting a matched set of AMD CPU, GPU, and DRAM, while others may be lured by potentially juicy combo deals. That said, wouldn't taking a more hands-on approach with its Black Edition Memory Profile initiative offer similar advantages without many of the downsides?