Samsung ships first GDDR4 graphics memory

San Jose (CA) - Samsung claims that it is first to have developed the industry's fastest graphics memory and has shipped it to major graphics card manufacturers for testing.

The fourth generation of graphics double data rate (GDDR) memory is able to process gaming and video images at a rate of 10 GByte per second, which is roughly 725 percent more than what current GDDR3 technology provides. Overall, Samsung said that GDDR4 could deliver a speed increase of 56 percent when compared to GDDR3.

The announcement of the first GDDR4 device - a 256 Mbit chip that runs at 2.5 Gbit per second - comes as Rambus' XDR memory technology was widely speculated to have a shot to become the next-generation graphics memory in graphics cards. XDR is currently sampled by Elpida, Samsung and Toshiba with clock speeds of up to 4.8 GHz. According to Rambus, XDR bandwidth is 12.8 GByte per second.

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Samsung GDDR4 memory

While XDR makes a convincing case in terms of technology, Rambus' business model and relationships to potential customers may prevent the technology from being widely adopted beyond Sony's upcoming Playstation 3 gaming console, industry sources told TG Daily. Rambus licenses its technology to manufacturers and demands licensing fees for every product that integrates the firm's technology and that is sold into the market. Additionally, Rambus is still involved in lawsuits with some of its best customers - including Samsung.

According to Samsung, GDDR4 retains a design virtually identical to that of GDDR3, which could be a major factor for graphics chip manufacturer to choose GDDR4 over XDR - as it implies a less development time and cost for new products. Samsung said it plans to introduce samples of 2.8 Gbit per second GDDR4 by the end of this year with mass production to follow by the second quarter of 2006.