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Well, yeah - and graphics cards! High speeds are required here even more than in mainboards, while circuitry is somewhat simpler: you needn't ensure that the modules from various manufacturers work with your card, and the like. The number of parties involved is a little bit smaller, too.

And they managed to jointly ratify DDR II-based graphics memory standard, GDDR-2/3 in the end of 2002. 2 or 3 - depends upon who's talking. NVIDIA and Co think that it's GDDR-2 with 1Gbit/sec per output bandwidth (compare with 400Mbit/sec per output by 400MHz DDR II chips!). ATI thinks its GDDR-3, which is exactly the same spec, but higher frequencies. So, the bandwidth here is 1.4Gbit/sec per output. Simple arithmetic tells us that we deal with frequencies of 1GHz and 1.4GHz, respectively! And that's not wishful thinking: Samsung should be already producing limited volumes of 1GHz GDDR-2 chips the time you are reading this article.

Moreover, graphics card makers need one more DDR II variation. But now they don't want utmost clock-rates, but low cost and efficiency. Here is the recipe: take one DDR II specification, cut off all you can do without and get DDR-2M, a mobile variant with the required features. ATI and Elpida tried to use the recipe, but it's not quite clear yet, whether the market will accept their private initiative.


DDR II prototype by Elpida

So, we see the old story repeats once again. If the market gets carte blanche and isn't pressed upon, the winner will be the price-to-performance ratio. Moreover, it will continue this way in the future. DDR III is shaping up and … Yeah, no revolutions! The voltage is reduced ever lower to 1.2-1.5V. The resulting frequency increases ever higher :from 800 to 1500MHz, so the module bandwidth will be 12GB/sec instead of 6.4GB/sec. But the daintiest bit is that one more tendency is sure to go on: DDR II chips cost about the same as DDR, and DDR III is going to remain within this rule, too.

Well, we are a little bit too fast, I assume. Let's first meet DDR II, which should come into the mass market starting the second half of 2003. About that time we are also going to see first chipsets supporting DDR II, like SiS656. Intel is only planning to introduce its dual-channel DDR II chipset in 2004. In the meanwhile VIA should be entering the scene with its dual-channel P4X800, somewhere about the fourth quarter of the next year.

 
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