Fully Buffered DIMM FAQ
Fully Buffered DIMM FAQ
FB-DIMM memory is now available at Kingston.
FB-DIMM (Fully Buffered Dual Inline Memory Module)
memory combines high-speed DDR2 memory with a
new point-to-point serial memory architecture for nextgeneration servers.
cycle while reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
With FB-DIMM servers, all memory sockets can be used,
unlike Lindenhurst servers where the rank limit may require
memory sockets to remain empty if the limit is reached.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about
The following chart shows the two major types of
Bensley platforms and the DDR2 memory capacities:
1. What are FB-DIMMs?
Launched in April 2006, FB-DIMM is the latest server
memory technology for Intel Xeon-based server
platforms. Developed by Intel and standardized by
JEDEC, FB-DIMMs are “intelligent” memory modules
that incorporate a special memory controller built into
the module.
2. Why are FB-DIMMs important to me?
FB-DIMMs are the solution for scaling memory on midrange servers into hundreds of gigabytes within the
next few years.
Before 2006, two-way Xeon server platforms (codenamed “Lindenhurst”) were limited to a total of eight
ranks of memory modules, limiting upgrade flexibility
and increasing cost dramatically when single-rank
higher-capacity memory modules were required. The
rank limitations were due to the Registered DIMM
server memory technology reaching “electrical loading”
limits with higher-speed DDR333 or DDR2 memory.
New DDR2 server memory architecture solutions were
needed, prompting JEDEC to standardize on FB-DIMM
as the next-generation server memory.
4. How does FB-DIMM technology work?
FB-DIMM technology utilizes high-speed serial (narrow
bus) memory connections, similar to the PCI Express
technology launched in June 2004. FB-DIMMs feature a
built-in intelligent controller, called Advanced Memory
Buffer (AMB), which manages all the module’s DRAM
read and write operations while also handling all
communications across the high-speed connection
to the memory controller. FB-DIMMs are “intelligent”
memory modules.
3. How does FB-DIMM technology affect IT?
FB-DIMMs resolve DDR2 memory capacity issues and
enable two-way servers to reach 64GB of DDR2 memory.
These servers come in 8, 12, or 16FB-DIMM socket
configurations, providing unprecedented memory
flexibility. FB-DIMM allows for upgrades to a server’s
memory over time, thereby increasing a server’s life
FB-DIMMs utilize the same DDR2-533 and DDR2-667
DRAMs that are already being utilized on newer
desktops and notebooks (Bensley platforms support
both DDR2-667 and DDR2-533 memory).
more >>
Fully Buffered DIMM FAQ
Future FB-DIMM server platforms will be able to scale
memory up to 6 channels, with up to 8 FB-DIMMs per
channel. At full configuration, future high-end servers
will provide up to 48 FB-DIMM sockets, allowing for
memory capacity to increase to 192GB using 4GB
FB-DIMM modules.
Bensley servers will allow all of their FB-DIMM sockets
to be used so memory capacity headroom is effectively
increased. For example, to configure a Lindenhurst
server with 16GB of DDR2 memory, the options are to
use eight 2GB single-rank memory modules or four 4GB
dual-rank memory modules – both expensive solutions
due to higher DRAM costs. On Bensley platforms with
sixteen FB-DIMM sockets, sixteen 1GB FB-DIMMs can
be used, resulting in significant savings. With FB-DIMM,
memory, costs can be reduced by using cost-effective,
lower capacity memory modules instead of more
expensive, high-capacity memory modules.
8. When is the market going to fully adopt
FB-DIMM technology?
5. Why do FB-DIMMs use a heatspreader?
The Advanced Memory Buffer (AMB), the intelligent chip
that manages the communications on the FB-DIMM
memory module, is a controller or specialized processor.
It gets hotter than DRAMs and the heatspreader helps
to dissipate heat away from the AMB and DRAM chips
by providing a larger area that can be cooled by a
server’s built-in fans. All of Kingston’s FB-DIMMs will
incorporate a full-DIMM heatspreader to increase their
operational reliability.
6. What is the AMB chip and why is it necessary?
The AMB chip, or Advanced Memory Buffer chip, is
a specialized processor (or controller) that is built
into every FB-DIMM module. It allows the server
motherboard’s Memory Controller to “outsource”
the DRAM management functions to the AMB chip.
Through this outsourcing process, many of the
electrical loading issues impacting Registered DIMM
server modules get resolved.
In addition to managing all the FB-DIMMs’ read from
and write to DRAM operations, the AMB also manages
communications across the high-speed memory
connections linking the Memory Controller to all the
FB-DIMMs in a channel.
FB-DIMM technology launched on all new Intel Bensley
platforms in 2006, and on new Intel Xeon MP platforms
in 2007. JEDEC is already standardizing FB-DIMMs for
the next-generation server platforms. Kingston expects
FB-DIMMs to rapidly become the server memory
standard in the next couple of years.
9. How does Kingston differentiate itself from
other independent memory vendors?
Kingston is the only independent memory manufacturer
to work with Intel and global DRAM manufacturers
since 2004 to prototype, manufacture, and test
FB-DIMMs. An expert in testing technology, Kingston
has developed specialized and proprietary hardware
testers and software to effectively test each FB-DIMM
module prior to customer shipment. Kingston has also
engineered special test boards and software to conduct
detailed parametric and characterization testing of
FB-DIMMs on high-end Automated Test Equipment
(ATE) testers, thereby verifying that an FB-DIMM
complies with specifications and is fully functional.
Kingston has already been selected by leading server
manufacturers as a strategic supplier of FB-DIMM
memory. Kingston is well-prepared to fully ramp the
supply of its top-quality FB-DIMM memory solutions
and support its partners and IT purchasers worldwide
in maximizing the TCO and life cycle benefits provided
by the new Intel Bensley platforms.
7. Will FB-DIMMs cost more than the existing
registered DIMM server memory modules?
In equivalent configurations with 8 or more GB of
DDR2 memory, Bensley servers will generally reduce
memory costs significantly over older-generation
Lindenhurst servers.
©2007 Kingston Technology Company, Inc. 17600 Newhope Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 USA.
All rights reserved. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Printed in the USA MKF-1010.2
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