DDR SDRAM, also called DDR1 SDRAM is a form of semiconductor memory - it as popular when first introduced by has now been supeseeded.

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DDR or as it was sometimes called DDR1 SDRAM was a development of the first SDRAM memory technology to improve its performance.

The initials DDR stand for Double Data Rate and as such it gave a significant increase in the speed of operation of the previous generation of SDRAM technology at the time of its introduction.

DDR SDRAM / DDR1 SDRAM was the first incarnation of this technology and it achieved its speed increase by transferring data by transferring data twice per cycle, i.e. on both the rising and then the falling edge of the clock signal.

As a result of its speed improvement, DDR / DDR1 SDRAM was quickly adopted and single data rate, SDRAM soon became obsolete.


DDR SDRAM utilises techniques including very tight timing controls to increase the data transfer rates by almost a fact of two.

The very tight timing requirements often require the use of phase locked loops and self-calibration techniques to ensure the timing is sufficiently accurate.

The key to the operation is that the DDR SDRAM is able to transfer data on both the rising as well as the falling edges of the clock pulse. This has many advantages, not only increasing the data rate, but also reducing other problems such as the signal integrity requirements. At these speeds, signal integrity can become a significant issue, and maximising the data transfer rate for a given clock rate provides improvements in this area.

DDR SDRAM data rates and clock speeds
DDR SDRAM Type Data Rate
Memory Clock Speed
DDR-266 266 133
DDR-333 333 166
DDR-400 400 200

DDR SDRAMs access multiple memory locations in a single read or write command.

A memory read operation entails sending an "Activate" command followed by a "Read" command.

The memory has a certain latency after which the data is available - the memory provides a burst of data from two, four, or eight memory locations at a rate of two memory locations per clock cycle. It is therefore possible to read four memory locations in two consecutive clock cycles.

DDR SDRAM banks & arrays

DDR SDRAM memory has multiple banks within the memory. This enables the memory to provide multiple interleaved memory access, and this enables the overall memory bandwidth to be increased. A bank of memory is equal to an array or memory.

These banks can be addressed separately, and to accommodate this memory addressing is required. As this is done in binary notation, four DDR SDRAM memory banks require two lines for addressing: BA0 & BA1.

To provide an example of how DDR SDRAM operates in banks, a four bank DDR SDRAM may operate as follows:

  • An activate command opens a row in the first SDRAM bank.
  • A second Activate command activates a row in the second bank.
  • Read or Write commands can be sent to columns in the rows in banks one and two where the rows are open.
  • A Precharge command is sent once the read or write operations are complete. This closes the row and bank areas open.
  • The memory is ready for the next Activate command.

DDR / DDR1 SDRAM power

While DDR SDRAM provides an improvement in speed, this comes at a cost of the power dissipated.

The power required by a DDR / DDR1 SDRAM is related to the number of rows that are open at any one time. Thus to gain the fastest operation, it is necessary to open a number of rows together, but this consumes more power. For low power operation, only one row should be open at any one time in each bank, and there should also not be multiple banks each with open rows.

DDR / DDR1 SDRAM gave significant improvements in performance at the time. However it was superseded by the next generation of SDRAM known as DDR2 SDRAM.

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