Korean DRAM giant Samsung has been making a lot of technology announcements recently. It touted its high density 4Gb DDR3 chips last month, and showed off its advanced 40nm process for producing 2Gb DDR3 that it plans to introduce by the end of the year.
One area of sales that it hasn't been as successful as it would like has been in the GDDR5 market, designed for use in high-end video cards. Most graphics cards have been using Qimonda's GDDR5 chips, which are both faster and cheaper than GDDR4 memory.
However, Qimonda's insolvency presents a unique market opportunity for Samsung to take the lead. It has put its latest 7Gb/s GDDR5 design into mass production on its recently introduced 50nm-class process, which it has been using to produce more cost effective DDR3 DRAM.
Samsung says its GDDR5 will provide up to 28GB/s bandwidth, more than doubling GDDR4's 12.8GB/s. It will be available in 32Mbx32 or 64Mbx16 configurations, summing up to a 1Gb density.
Both Advanced Micro Devices and NVIDIA are currently working on 40nm die shrinks of their most powerful GPUs. AMD is planning to shift lower-speed GDDR5 downstream to its mainstream graphics cards, which currently use GDDR3 and DDR3 memory. It will then use the latest high-spec GDDR5 chips for its newest and most powerful video cards.
Samsung noted that it was able to tweak its 50nm process so much that it increased its production efficiency by a hundred percent over its 60nm process. If true, this will cut prices low enough that GDDR5 will be able to finally move into mainstream video cards.
Meanwhile, Samsung stated that while it has plans to extend 50nm production across its entire graphics memory product line, it expects that GDDR5 memory chips will capture more than 50 percent of the high-end PC graphics market by 2010.