Computer users hoping to see faster memory chips soon will have to wait until mid-2007, when Intel plans to add support for DDR3 (double data rate, third generation) to its chipsets.

Intel is likely to add DDR3 support to its chipsets around the middle of next year, because the market won't be ready for them until then, said Richard Malinowski, general manager of Intel's chipset group, on the sidelines of a conference Wednesday.

The company's latest chipset family, dubbed 965, only supports DDR2 (second generation), and dropped support for first generation DDR memory chips.

DDR3 schedule emerges

The schedule is no surprise, as DDR2 is only now becoming mainstream. However, some users may be disappointed, as DDR3 is already being used in the latest graphics cards to squeeze the best performance out of the latest graphics processors. Some memory makers have already produced DDR3 modules – all they need is the chipsets to connect them to the microprocessors.

Qimonda, Nanya Technology, and module maker A-Data Technology are all showing off DDR3 modules for computers at Computex this week.

Qimonda, the memory chip spin-off from German chip maker Infineon Technologies, said its 1GB module was aimed at desktops, because that's the traditional route for new memory technologies. First comes the desktops, then servers and laptops.

"Technology wise, it's easier for it to be in the desktop," said Emmy Ko, a senior engineer at Qimonda.

DDR3 is supposed to be speedier than DDR2 and use less power, which could be good for notebook users.

Nanya Technology was displaying 512MB DDR3 modules with 1GB of storage, and said it didn't expect to ship them in volume until 2007. A-Data displayed DDR3 modules aimed at desktop PCs.