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Without starting to produce the new generation GDDR4 memory chips, Qimonda, a maker of dynamic random access memory, initiated development of memory test systems for next-generation GDDR5 memory chips. The announcement emphasizes Qimonda’s intention to start manufacturing of GDDR5 as soon as possible.

Qimonda AG said it is developing GDDR3 memory test systems with Advantest, a leading supplier of test equipment. According to Qimonda, GDDR5 (graphics double data rate 5) will become the next major graphics DRAM standard after GDDR3 due to its performance increases and additional features. The company notes that the standard has already been defined by JEDEC, therefore, memory makers are starting to gear up for volume manufacturing of GDDR5 devices.

But while Qimonda claims that GDDR5 will succeed GDDR3, which means that the company does not see GDDR4 as a successful technology, it does not unveil any peculiarities of GDDR5, e.g., power consumption or clock-speed figures.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics has already showcased GDDR4 chips operating at 4GHz, two times higher compared to currently available 2.0GHz GDDR3 and GDDR4 memory devices. Originally it was estimated that GDDR4 would scale to about 2.8GHz in 2007 and in 2008 the GDDR5 would kick off at 3.5GHz to reach 4GHz speeds in 2009. However, Samsung’s new chips may cause the industry to revise technology roadmap, especially keeping in mind that Samsung has been able to clock the GDDR4 at 3.20GHz about a year ago.

ATI Technologies and JEDEC started to talk about GDDR4 publicly in early Q2, 2004, and claimed that the standard would be completed by the end of the year. However, the first graphics card to utilize GDDR4 emerged only in August, 2006, more than two years after the first public discussion about the GDDR4.

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