Typically when we mention AMD, it's about the company's CPUs, its GPUs, and its struggles with a stumbling PC market. Some of the latest reports have stemmed around its involvement with the Nintendo Wii U console, its FirePro S10000 Server Graphics and more. What we hear very little about is the company's array of Radeon DRAM modules which were launched in North America late last year, and its more recent AMD Radeon RAMDisk software which reserves a block of system memory and turns it into a virtual hard drive.
Now there's talk that the company will soon dive into the SSD market. SemiAccurate reports that AMD will slap its Radeon brand on SSDs supplied by an unnamed manufacturer. This shouldn't be surprising given that Radeon DRAM modules are provided by 3rd-party manufacturers including Patriot Memory, VisionTek and XFX whereas the software is provided by Dataram.
A Radeon-branded SSD isn't unlikely, and here's why: "As part of AMD’s development of personal computer platforms, the company has used the AMD OverDrive performance optimization tool to test and optimize DRAM in conjunction with the company’s APUs, CPUs, GPUs and chipset platforms. This unique insight is now helping AMD tune and optimize memory modules for other manufacturers."
That quote was ripped from AMD's DRAM announcement exactly one year ago. Now imagine a system with an AMD CPU, a Radeon GPU, Radeon DRAM, and a Radeon SSD. Not only would that be an incredible marketing tool to sell desktops and laptops, but both the memory and SSD would be optimized by the AMD OverDrive tool. The resulting streamlined system would seemingly be a complete AMD Radeon package, fine tuned to burn rubber on the internet and to melt the eyeballs of desktop gamers with incredibly high framerates and HD graphics.
"AMD has been supplying and validating memory for AMD Radeon graphics cards for several years," added Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD GPU Division, last year. "Based on this experience, adding system memory to our product line was a clear opportunity for us. This move provides our partners and end-users with a trusted brand synonymous with quality – we can help ensure performance and reliability with AMD Memory."
SemiAccurate offers a rather lengthy investigation into why AMD would bother with the SSD market, but doesn't really offer any clues as to where the SSD rumor started (although a purple and green striped mole was mentioned on Twitter). Still, offering a Radeon SSD line does make sense, especially if AMD is planning to launch its own ultra-thin form factor specification.
But the SSD sector is crowded as it is, and will continue to grow as prices reach more consumer-friendly levels. Will AMD be able to compete as a stand-alone SSD supplier, or will the company merely provide these branded SSDs to OEMs? We'll find out soon enough if the rumor is true.