DRAM makers home in on graphics

DRAM makers are bearing down on the graphics market and expect in the first half of next year to launch a GDDR-III memory chip designed from the ground up for high-performance graphics applications.

DRAM vendor Micron Technology Inc. and ATI Technologies Inc., the Toronto-based graphics chip designer, told EBN this week that GDDR-III is the first memory device of its kind and will feature data rates of 1Gbit/s to 1.5Gbits/s. That's up to two times faster than DDR-II SDRAM, which has yet to enter volume production but may already be too slow for heavy-duty graphics processing, according to some observers.

Michael Litt, ATI's senior strategic marketing manager, said his company collaborated with DRAM suppliers to develop an open standard for GDDR-III that would exist outside the standards established by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association.

"Graphics companies are speed fiends and need far faster memory chips every year," Litt said. "We can't wait for the two to three years it takes JEDEC to approve a new standard. By that time, any new DRAM standard from JEDEC would be obsolete for graphics.

"JEDEC does a very good job on developing standards for [PC] system memory, but these deal with modules, chipsets, and system interfaces that aren't needed in graphics. And system memory has a two- to three-year lifecycle, while graphics memory is a nine-month cycle," he said.

News source: EBN - DRAM makers home in on graphics

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