AMD: Own-Brand Memory Modules - Probe of Opportunity

AMD Has No Plans to Make Memory or Sell It Directly to Customers

by Anton Shilov
08/10/2011 | 10:26 AM

Advanced Micro Devices said on Wednesday that the AMD Radeon-branded memory modules that emerged for sale in certain regions are just a test of the opportunity and the company is currently trying to find out whether it makes sense to sell such products. The company has no plans to start manufacturing of memory or memory modules.


"AMD does not manufacture memory and does not plan to sell system memory directly to our customers. AMD is currently determining if the sale of AMD Radeon-branded memory through channel partners is a viable opportunity and as such it has appeared in some regions for purchase through retail," said Dave Erskine, a spokesman for AMD.

Earlier this week it transpired that AMD had quietly started to sell its own-brand Radeon memory modules for systems powered by its accelerated processing units (APUs) and central processing units (CPUs). This will unlikely become a major business for AMD.

AMD (and previously ATI) has been supplying its add-in-card partners with compatible GDDR-series memory chips for years to make sure that certain graphics cards models are available with the right type of memory.  But 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. Prices on commodity DRAMs are extremely volatile and they are heading downwards these days. This means that AMD barely has chances to make money on low-cost memory modules (which it sells today) as by the time AMD brings them to market, they will become cheaper.

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 available presently are not truly impressive and performance-demanding users will prefer solutions from companies like Corsair Memory. Still, considering that the decision to sell modules is a test of an opportunity, it hardly makes sense for AMD to offer high-end modules.