The term synchronous implies that the data read and write cycles of an SDRAM device coincide with the clock signal from the CPU. SDR SDRAM is read and written on each SDRAM clock cycle. DDR SDRAM is read and written twice on each clock cycle, once on the rising edge of the clock and once on the falling edge.
Modern processors have complex clocking subsystems. Many have multiple clock rates that are used for different parts of the system. A typical processor uses a relatively low-frequency crystal-generated clock source for its primary clock signal. A phase locked loop internal to the processor generates the CPU's primary clock (the clock rate we speak of when comparing processor speeds). Because the CPU typically runs much faster than the memory subsystem, the processor generates a submultiple of the main CPU clock to feed to the SDRAM subsystem. You need to configure this clocking ratio for your particular CPU and SDRAM combination.
The processor and memory subsystem clocks must be correctly configured for your SDRAM to work properly. Your processor manual contains a section on clock setup and management, and you must consult this to properly set up your particular board design.
The AMCC 405GP is typical of processors of its feature set. It takes a single crystal-generated clock input source and generates several internal and external clocks required of its subsystems. It generates clocks for the CPU, PCI interface, Onboard Peripheral Bus (OPB), Processor Local Bus (PLB), Memory Clock (MemClk), and several internal clocks for peripherals such as timer and UART blocks. A typical configuration might look like those in Table D-1.
Decisions about clock setup normally must be made at hardware design time. Pin strapping options determine initial clock configurations upon application of power to the processor. Some control over derived clocks is often available by setting divider bits accessible through processor internal registers dedicated to clock and subsystem control. In the example we present here based on the 405GP, final clock configuration is determined by pin strapping and firmware configuration. It is the bootloader's responsibility to set the initial dividers and any other clock options configurable via processor register bits very early after power is applied.