Data Management

Samsung Mass Produces Ultra-Fast Gaming Memory Hardware

In response to demand from gaming PC manufacturers for faster memory, Samsung on Wednesday said it has begun mass producing GDDR4 systems.

GDDR4, a series of four graphics double-density-rate memory components, processes images 33 percent faster than the fastest memory on the market today. Graphics memory is installed in desktop PCs, notebooks and workstations to move huge volumes of video images simultaneously.

“With GDDR4-based systems, we’re entering a new frontier with lifelike movements and richly textured imagery far better than DVD movies being viewed today,” said Mueez Deen, marketing director, graphics memory and mobile DRAM at Samsung Semiconductor. “Using 80-nanometer production technology, the memory has an ultra-high-speed data processing rate of 2.4 Gigabits per second.”

Dramatic Opportunity

The mass production of GDDR4 marks a dramatic increase in performance for the graphics industry — and an opportunity for Samsung to tap into a rapidly growing market. The non-integrated graphics memory market will grow from US$2.3 billion in 2005 to over $4 billion by the end of 2008, according to Jon Peddie Research.

“Sales of high performance memory have already risen by 15 percent this year compared to 2005, and GDDR4 will give an even sharper boost in demand,” said Dr. Jon Peddie, principal of Jon Peddie Research.

The Need for Speed

When measured against GDDR3 at the highest comparable speed of 2.0 Gbps, GDDR4 showed a 45 percent power savings. The 512 MB GDDR4 memory will be offered in a 32-bit data bus configuration.

GDDR4 uses standards approved by the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) for signal noise reduction, including data bus inversion and multi-preamble specifications, to help attain the highest possible speed.

“As the DRAM suppliers are trying to advance their memory across all applications, it was really the Nvidias and the ATIs of the world that didn’t think memory was moving fast enough. They wanted faster memory that could keep pace with their processors. So this graphics GDDR4 might be one of the answers to that,” IC Insights Vice President of Market Research Brian Matus told TechNewsWorld.

Manufacturers Show Support

Indeed, manufacturers of graphics processing units (GPUs) and video cards have expressed strong interest in the new memory.

“We’re delighted that we’ll be able to use GDDR4 from Samsung in our latest graphics cards,” said Joe Macri, senior director of engineering, ATI, and chair of the JEDEC committee on GDDR4. “Samsung’s timely introduction will increase the performance of our upcoming products and ultimately improve the gaming experience for our users.”

An Insatiable Demand

Tony Tamasi, vice president of technical marketing at Nvidia, is also excited about Samsung’s decision to ramp the product into production. “The graphics industry has an insatiable demand for high bandwidth memories and GDDR4 is poised to become the next major evolutionary step for our GPUs,” he said.

GDDR4 could eventually make its way down to mainstream consumer use, Matus said, but for now “any kind of improvement Samsung can make will help the overall system run better and show more realistic graphics to keep pace with the quick responses and inputs that manufacturers are adding to games.”

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