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Samsung Electronics, the world’s No.1 maker of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), has announced that it had begun mass production of the next-generation GDDR4 memory, which will be used on future graphics cards and will enable higher clock-speeds and performance.

The new GDDR4 chips operate at 2400MHz, an unprecedented speed-bin for graphics memory, and also features lower power consumption when compared to the GDDR3. The devices are produced using 80nm process technology, which increases clock-speed potential and lowers overall power consumption. When measured against GDDR3 at the highest comparable speed (2.00GHz), GDDR4 showed a 45% power savings. Samsung said that the first GDDR4 chips have 512Mb capacity.

ATI Technologies is projected to release its code-named R580+ product featuring the GDDR4 this summer or fall. The new R580+ will feature the same Radeon X1900 XTX chip, but now equipped with GDDR4 memory at higher clock-speeds compared to today’s GDDR3. The GPU’s memory controller will be reprogrammed to handle higher clock-speeds and the whole R580+ design will allow ATI to test the GDDR4 memory ahead of its broad deployment in the next-generations of products. The product may be approximately 15% faster compared to the current flagship offering from the company. It is highly likely that Samsung will begin shipments of GDDR4 to ATI.

“We’re delighted that we’ll be able to use GDDR4 from Samsung in our latest graphics cards. Samsung's timely introduction will increase the performance of our upcoming products and ultimately improve the gaming experience for our users,” said Joe Macri, senior director of engineering, ATI, and chair of the JEDEC committee on GDDR4.

Nvidia Corp. will also utilize the GDDR4 in its flagship products, most probably, in the code-named G80 graphics card.

“Nvidia worked with JEDEC to develop the GDDR4 standard and we are excited to see Samsung ramping this into production. The graphics industry has an insatiable demand for high bandwidth memories and GDDR4 is poised to become the next major evolutionary step for our GPUs,” said Tony Tamasi, vice president of technical marketing at Nvidia.

According to market research firm Jon Peddie Research, sales of high performance memory have already risen by 15% this year compared to 2005, and GDDR4 will give an even sharper boost in demand. The research firm projected that the non-integrated graphics memory market will grow from $2.3 billion in 2005 to over $4 billion by the end of 2008.

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