We've yet to see a single Athlon-using board that supports DDR2, and even Intel boards are just starting to take off on the DDR2 Plane. And yet, Elpida Memory is already shipping units of 240-pin 1.5V DDR3 memory, in 512MB and 1GB sizes, to Intel. No bones about it, it is Elpida's and (supposedly) Intel's goal to make DDR3 succeed DDR2 - perhaps a lot sooner than we'd imagine.
"The availability of these samples allows systems developers such as Intel to evaluate new features and GHz-class performance across all DIMM sockets on the motherboard with the memory controller and the processor," said Jun Kitano, director of technical marketing for Elpida Memory (USA)."
This is both good news and bad. On one hand, you have advancing technology, and provided it is deployed right and on the proper timescale, newer technologies should be embraced. However, when you have other technologies being extremely short-lived, you only hurt the consumers in the long run. AMD stuck fast to DDR while Intel dabbled in Rambus - proving to be an exhausting and expensive mistake for industry and consumers alike. According to Elpida, DDR3 will be available to customers next year, and volume production set to occur "in accordance with market demand" after that. Replacing the memory standard after less than two years may result in a lot of backlash - so it's possible Intel will hold off for a while.