Samsung Clocks GDDR4 at 4GHz
by Anton Shilov
[ 02/21/2007 | 05:44 AM ]
Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest producer of memory, presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) its new GDDR4 memory chips that operate at about 40% higher speed than the GDDR4 was initially estimated to, but uses more power.
The experimental 512Mb GDDR4 memory chips from Samsung were produced using 80nm process technology and were designed for power supply voltage of 1.4V – 2.1V, reports PC Watch web-site. The data rate of 4Gb/s (4 gigabit per second, or 4GHz) was achieved with devices operating at 2.0V, which is higher than Samsung’s current-generation GDDR4 chips that can function at up to 1.9V officially.
GDDR4 memory at 4.0GHz delivers bandwidth of 16GB/s and if such chips were used in today’s graphics cards that have 256-bit memory bus, this would result in peak data bandwidth of 128GB/s, two times more than the ATI Radeon X1950 XTX (the only graphics card on the market that uses GDDR4) can offer. For tomorrow’s graphics boards that will have 512-bit memory access Samsung’s new chips would give peak memory bandwidth of 256GB/s, which is nearly three times more than 86.4GB/s that the currently highest-performance graphics card – Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX – has.
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.
Samsung did not unveil when it would produce the new memory components, but it should not be expected that the new chips will power the products due in 2007 or early 2008. Samsung produced its first working 3.20GHz GDDR4 samples in mid-February, 2006, and initiated production of GDDR4 devices capable of working at 2.40GHz in early July. But so far no commercial graphics card can clock memory even at 2.40GHz, not talking about 3.20GHz due to print-circuit board design restrictions.