ATI, graphics products group of Advanced Micro Devices, does not expect production stop at Qimonda AG to affect availability of GDDR5 memory and, as a result, ATI Radeon graphics cards that use such memory chips. According to AMD, even though Qimonda was a very important GDDR5 producer, Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics will be able to meet GDDR5 requirements of the company.
At present, ATI is the only company that supports the latest GDDR5 memory standard with its graphics processing units (GPUs). The company utilizes GDDR5 on its mainstream and premium Radeon HD 4870, Radeon HD 4890 as well as Radeon HD 4870 X2 and in Q2 2009 a new lineup of affordable products from ATI will also feature GDDR5 memory to bring new performance heights to sub-$100 per board price segment.
The vast majority of ATI Radeon HD 4870 and the recently introduced ATI Radeon HD 4890 utilize GDDR5 memory from Qimonda, a troubled maker of dynamic random access memory, which stopped production on the 1st of April because of insolvency proceedings. The halt of manufacturing at Qimonda could easily affect availability of GDDR5 memory, especially considering popularity of chips from Qimonda. Still, ATI claims that there will be no disrupts in shipments of its graphics cards because of Qimonda.
“Going into the launch of the ATI Radeon HD 4870 in June 2008, we worked with three memory vendors – Qimonda, Hynix and Samsung – to ensure multiple suppliers of GDDR5 memory. We have assessed availability of GDDR5 memory and, regardless of what transpires with Qimonda, GDDR5 memory will be available in sufficient quantity to meet our needs,” said David Cummings, director of product marketing of discrete desktop graphics at AMD’s graphics products group, AMD.
At present there are several ATI Radeon HD 4870 and 4870 X2 models that utilize memory from Hynix, however, there are a few, if any, designs that feature GDDR5 from Samsung Electronics, which raises questions whether the company produces GDDR5 in noticeable quantities.
GDDR5 supplies are crucial for ATI since the company’s partners not only install such memory on mainstream and premium products, but will also start to use GDDR5 on sub-$100 graphics boards sometimes in May, which will mean that a rather substantial chunk of AMD’s graphics products revenue will depend on GDDR5.