ATI takes another look at shared memory

Markham (ON) - ATI today said that it will develop a new approach to use system memory rather than more dedicated memory on its graphics card. HyperMemory will use PCI Express to reach higher performance levels than shared memory solutions in the past while maintaining lower price levels.

The expression "shared memory" in itself always had a negative touch, even when graphics and PC makers tried to fin tune marketing and promotional terms. Today, the memory is just adequate for entry-level and some home PC solutions. This however could change soon, ATI believes.

The company today announced a new spin on the idea to take advantage of existing system memory rather then increasing on-board memory which recently reached 256 MByte on some cards - one reason being that the data transfer between the visual processor and the CPU was not fast enough for real-time graphics applications. HyperMemory, according to ATI, gives the company the option to deliver cards with less on-board memory and instead use system memory to handle the graphics storage requirements.

The company's aid that the technology uses "intelligent memory allocation algorithms" to optimize the use of available local memory and ensure critical components are placed in fast local memory when required. Optimal assignment of data to local or system storage is determined dynamically to ensure the best user experience. HyperMemory also increases the performance of system bus data transfers, making accessing system memory faster than before, ATI claims.

Graphics cards featuring HyperMemory technology are scheduled to be announced later this year.