Samsung accelerates GDDR4 graphics memory prototypes

San Jose (CA) - The next generation of graphics memory is beginning to take shape. Samsung tunes its GDDR4 memory prototypes while Rambus still hopes that its XDR memory will graphics chip companies. Samsung today announced a new version of GDDR4, which matches the bandwidth of XDR.

Samsung's claims that its new GDDR4 chip is the world's fastest graphics memory. The 512 Mb device is manufactured in 80 nm technology, comes with 32 input/output pins, each of which can transfer data at up to 3.2 Gb/sec. The total bandwidth is indicated to be 12.8 GB/s, which is not only significantly faster than the prototype the company announced in October of last year, but also matches the performance of Rambus' XDR memory.

Not surprisingly, the company aims to replace GDDR3 with its new memory devices. "Samsung Electronics has set the standard for graphics memory ever since its introduction six years ago, coming out with the first GDDR1, GDDR2, GDDR3 and GDDR 4 memory devices," the company said in a press release.

While XDR is generally perceived as high performing memory that has a shot a being considered for the integration in next-generation graphics cards, Rambus has a tendency to sue its customers over patent infringement just as a new technology may surface as a viable mass market solution. While Samsung has licensed XDR, Rambus recently filed suit against Samsung in an unrelated issue. Such legal proceedings may be hard to swallow for firms that may consider the production of a new technology. That was the case with RDRAM almost six years ago and it may be the case with XDR again. For now, the upcoming Playstation 3 remains the only mass-market for XDR, as Cell processor based system are unlikely to become a mainstream topic.

However, Rambus has some innovative features in the XDR spec available, which promise to result in dramatic performance increases. Just one of these features is micro-threading, that can pass data passing through the memory into multiple streams for parallel processing.

Samsung representatives told TG Daily in an interview last year, that they believe that GDDR4 will be able to surpass XDR's performance in certain scenarios, such as 4-channel XDR. The higher the pin count, the better GDDR4's competitive position. On lower pin-count designs, Samsung conceded, XDR will provide a "much higher" performance.