Samsung announces faster graphics memory

More speed and less power promised

Samsung plans to begin mass production of a new type of graphics memory next year that consumes less power and is significantly faster than existing chips.

Called GDDR (Graphics Double Data Rate) 5, the new chips can transfer data at speeds up to 6Gbit/s, compared to transfer speeds of 3.2Gbit/s offered by GDDR 4 chips, currently the fastest graphics memory available. The difference is even greater when compared to GDDR 3, which is the most commonly used graphics memory and offers transfer speeds of 1.6Gbit/s.

The faster transfer speeds mean GDDR5 is able to move more data, up to 24GB per second, according to Samsung. GDDR 3 and GDDR 4 can move 6.4GB and 9.6GB per second, respectively. The ability of GDDR 5 to move more data means more realistic and detailed graphics images in games and other applications.

Samsung says the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20% more efficient than GDDR 3 chips.

Samples of the GDDR 5 chips began shipping to graphics-processor makers last month, and Samsung plans to begin mass production of the chips during the first half of next year.

GDDR 5 memory should first appear in high-end gaming systems where users are willing to pay a premium for better graphics. Samsung did not disclose pricing for the chips.

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