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NVIDIA Corporation may enable support of GDDR3 – a type of memory that will be used on graphics cards powered by next-generation GPUs – on its current performance mainstream offering – the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra.

Currently Santa Clara, California-based NVIDIA is offering its GeForce FX 5700 and GeForce FX 5700 Ultra graphics processors with official support for DDR and GDDR2 memory. Although there are DDR chips able to function at about 1.0GHz, NVIDIA decided to use GDDR2 components for memory clocked at 900MHz on graphics cards based on the fastest version of its GeForce FX 5700 series.

The GDDR3 memory is an evolution of GDDR2 memory that is primarily targeted for clock-speed increase.  Although GDDR3 evolves from GDDR2, it will have some pretty important differences. Firstly, GDDR3 makes use of a single-ended, unidirectional strobe that separates the reads and writes. GDDR2, by contrast, uses differential bi-directional strobes. Secondly, GDDR3 utilizes a “pseudo-open drain” interface technique that is based on voltage rather than current. This was done so that graphics chips can be compatible with DDR, GDDR2 and GDDR3. Like GDDR2, GDDR3 interface uses 1.8-Volt SSTL. Such memory is generally better suited for point-to-point links used on graphics cards and allows the GPU developers to reach the new performance and feature heights with their products.

The reason why NVIDIA may adopt GDDR3 memory on its performance mainstream GeForce FX 5700 Ultra GPUs is not clear, but it will certainly give a slight boost to GeForce FX 5700 Ultra-based products performance, as GDDR3 will be clocked at 950MHz, a 50MHz increase over GDDR2 speed on the same type of graphics cards, web-site reports.

The largest and the only manufacturer of GDDR3 memory chips is Samsung Electronics. The GDDR3 256Mb graphics memory devices manufactured by Samsung are clocked at 500MHz, 600MHz, 700MHz and 800MHz speeds effectively providing 1000Mb/s, 1200Mb/s, 1400Mb/s and 1600Mb/s per pin bandwidth. The company, who manufactured GDDR2 DRAMs for NVIDIA, currently does not list GDDR2 memory on its web-site, therefore, NVIDIA’s adoption of GDDR3 may be a result of GDDR2’s end-of-life.

Later this year NVIDIA will use GDDR3 with its highly-anticipated NV40 graphics processors.

NVIDIA did not comment on the story.


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