It's been several years since CPUs started to contain relatively accurate and user accessible temperature sensors, but while the JEDEC specification for DDR3 made such temperature sensors standard for ECC Registered memory (seen usually in servers), for standard desktop unbuffered DDR3 it was only optional. Predictably, most companies avoided bothering. Last October when we visited Kingston at its HQ in Fountain Valley, California, there was a lonely slide in the presentation mulling the possibility of DDR3 with accurate temperature sensing being made available sometime in 2010.
Crucial has made an effort to get this kind of memory feature to market and to design some software to read from the sensor, in the shape of MOD, or Memory Overview Display. Yup, that acronym is a little forced.
You'll have to buy new DDR3 with a physical temperature sensor on the stick itself, and Crucial has chosen to coincide the release with its latest, larger, very black heatspreaders on new performance Ballistix kits. Initially they will be available from Newegg in the US only and then elsewhere in the coming months. Oh, no rush, Crucial, we don't mind.
Click to enlarge
The new temperature sensors are currently exclusive to the new finned heatsinks and you can helpfully tell which ones they are by the "FN" in the product code, for example BL25664FN1608. Crucial claims that they're not charging a premium for the actual sensor, and that it will be rolled out in new finned kits in due course.
The DDR3 kit we've also got for this short preview doesn't sport a cutting edge super-fast frequency, although this specification of memory apparently sells extremely well and it isn't too expensive, which is bonus. Currently they're $10 more than the standard Ballistix heatspreaders on Newegg, although still ~$10 cheaper than the Tracer kits which include the LED add-on. It's refreshing to see Crucial not just putting this new feature on top-end DIMMs that only few can afford.
The arrow indicated the SPD chip, which integrates the temperature sensor. Click to enlarge