by Anton Shilov
08/08/2011 | 02:06 PM
Advanced Micro Devices has quietly started to sell its own-brand Radeon memory modules for systems powered by its accelerated processing units (APUs) and central processing units (CPUs). The reasons why AMD decided to enter the market of memory modules are not exactly clear. Potentially, own-brand memory modules will help AMD to ensure availability memory modules compatible with its platforms.
AMD (and previously ATI) has been supplying its add-in-card partners with compatible GDDR-series memory chips for years now. This allowed AMD to make sure that certain graphics cards models are available with the right type of memory. For manufacturers of graphics cards things also get easier: they can buy graphics chips along with memory chips from one source, which speeds up time-to-market, optimizes logistics and generally simplifies business process.
AMD plans to offer three series of Radeon memory modules: Entertainment (1333MHz, CL9 9-9), UltraPro Gaming (1600MHz, CL11 11-11) and Enterprise (specs to be determined). Initially, the company only ships 2GB memory modules, according to the official web-site. It is unclear which of the DRAM makers actually produce memory chips (which are marked as 23E64587MCDJ, 6521002 1121) for AMD. Specifications of the memory modules are not truly impressive and performance-demanding users will prefer solutions from companies like Corsair Memory.
At present AMD Radeon Entertainment-series memory modules are available in Tokyo, Japan, Akiba PC Hotline reports. Each module costs ¥1570 ($20.2)
Shipping own-brand memory modules is a rather surprising decision from AMD. Typical DDR3 DRAM modules are commodity products that are available widely from many manufacturers and with different specs. Hardly any PC makers acquire memory modules along with central processing units or mainboards. In fact, the only time when bundling of memory modules with motherboards was more or less mass event was back in 1999, when Intel shipped its i820-based platforms with RIMM memory modules simply because the latter were not available widely.
AMD's move to sell memory modules under Radeon brand is rather controversial as it essentially blurs positioning of Radeon graphics products and their premium nature, which essentially reduces the value of the brand, which has been associated for advanced graphics cards for over ten years now. It remains to be seen whether AMD will be able to make money selling memory modules, which price fluctuates every couple of weeks.