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Graphics card makers to move to DDR-II

Not waiting for the official approvement of DDR-II, which preliminary specifications have been approved by JEDEC, many graphics card makers have already confirmed plans to use this memory. ATI Technologies and NVIDIA are going to announce their DDR-II product samples already in Q4 2002. Trident Microsystems reported that its DDR-II samples will be ready in Q1 2003. I.e. about a year before the new memory appears in the PC market.

Joseph Macri, the head of ATI Technologies research department and JEDEC memory committee chairman, has recently said that next week, on JEDEC quarterly meeting in Vancouver, the committee will discuss the claim for graphics DDR-II adoption. According to Macri, the committee plans to hasten the consideration to adopt the standard before the year-end.

He said that currently almost all JEDEC resources are developing DDR-II drafts for PC system memory. At the same time, Macri said that graphics DDR-II doesn´t require such a multi-level system compatibility, necessary for DDR-II modules, chipsets, and motherboards. It requires a minor change in DDR-II base specifications to adopt it for graphics. The initiative also comes from graphics card makers, interested in the quickest adoption of DDR-II standard.

Infineon Technologies and Elpida Memory representatives have declared their support of the graphics DDR-II promotion. They say that using 1.8 V supply voltage (against 2.4 V of DDR-I), on-die termination (ODT), 4-bit prefetch and other DDR-II advancements might push grsphics card performance.

The current promotion of graphics DDR-II by JEDEC happens when most memory makers have just developed their DDR-II chips. Currently only Samsung Electronics ship its 533 Mbps graphics DDR-II samples. Elpida have already presented its 512 Mbit PC DDR-II chips, but haven´t yet reported about its graphics version. Other DRAM makers plan to announce their graphics DDR-II samples only early in 2003.

On the other hand, graphics card makers claim that DDR-II solutions production is delayed only because this memory is not present in the market. According to ATI, the company already has a ready design of DDR-II memory controller.

Leading analysts believe that DDR-II will add life to graphics card sales. They think that DDR-II will dominate as the graphics card memory by Q3 2003.

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