AMD today announced the first commercial implementation of Graphics Double Data Rate, version 5 (GDDR5) memory in its forthcoming next generation of ATI Radeon graphics card products. The high-speed, high-bandwidth GDDR5 technology is expected to become the new memory standard in the industry, and that same performance and bandwidth is a key enabler of The Ultimate Visual Experience, unlocking new GPU capabilities. AMD is working with a number of leading memory providers, including Samsung, Hynix and Qimonda, to bring GDDR5 to market.
Today’s GPU performance is limited by the rate at which data can be moved on and off the graphics chip, which in turn is limited by the memory interface width and die size. The higher data rates supported by GDDR5 – up to 5x that of GDDR3 and 4x that of GDDR4 – enable more bandwidth over a narrower memory interface, which can translate into superior performance delivered from smaller, more cost-effective chips. AMD’s senior engineers worked closely with industry standards body JEDEC in developing the new memory technology and defining the GDDR5 spec.
“The days of monolithic mega-chips are gone. Being first to market with GDDR in our next-generation architecture, AMD is able to deliver incredible performance using more cost-effective GPUs,” said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Graphics Product Group, AMD. “AMD believes that GDDR5 is the optimal way to drive performance gains while being mindful of power consumption. We’re excited about the potential GDDR5 brings to the table for innovative game development and even more exciting game play.”
The introduction of GDDR5-based GPU offerings marks the continued tradition of technology leadership in graphics for AMD. Most recently AMD has been first to bring a unified shader architecture to market, the first to support Microsoft DirectX 10.1 gaming, first to lower process nodes like 55nm, the first with integrated HDMI with audio, and the first with double-precision floating point calculation support.
AMD expects that PC graphics will benefit from the increase in memory bandwidth for a variety of intensive applications. PC gamers will have the potential to play at high resolutions and image quality settings, with superb overall gaming performance. PC applications will have the potential to benefit from fast load times, with superior responsiveness and multi-tasking.
“Qimonda has worked closely with AMD to ensure that GDDR5 is available in volume to best support AMD’s next-generation graphics products,” said Thomas Seifert, Chief Operating Officer of Qimonda AG. “Qimonda’s ability to quickly ramp production is a further milestone in our successful GDDR5 roadmap and underlines our predominant position as innovator and leader in the graphics DRAM market.”
GDDR5 for Stream Processing
In addition to the potential for improved gaming and PC application performance, GDDR5 also holds a number of benefits for stream processing, where GPUs are applied to address complex, massively parallel calculations. Such calculations are prevalent in high-performance computing, financial and academic segments among others. AMD expects that the increased bandwidth of GDDR5 will greatly benefit certain classes of stream computations.
New error detection mechanisms in GDDR5 can also help increase the accuracy of calculations by indentifying errors and re-issuing commands to get valid data. This capability is a level of reliability not available with other GDDR-based memory solutions today.