Nvidia speeds graphics cards with DDR3 memory

Nvidia will release graphics boards later this month with a fast new memory technology that can achieve bandwidth speeds double those of current graphics memory, the company said Thursday.

Graphics cards using the Santa Clara, California, company's GeForce FX 5700 Ultra chip and 128M bytes of GDDR3 (graphics double data rate 3) memory will be available in mid-March from board manufacturers such as Asustek Computer Inc. and Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd., Nvidia said.

GDDR3 is a large step forward in memory technology. Chips based on the standard can run at speeds up to 800MHz, and deliver data rates of up to 1.6G bps (bits per second), according to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Samsung is providing the memory for Nvidia's graphics boards.

The faster speeds are achieved by cleaning up data signals as they flow through the memory chip. GDDR3 designers used on-die termination to absorb reflected noise caused by the movement of the data signal through a chip.

The new chips also use a dynamic controller at the output driver managing the flow of data between the memory and the chipset. This controller examines signals as they leave the memory chips and adjusts those signals to maximize signal quality.

Memory technologies for PCs are expected to evolve this year with initial moves toward DDR2 system memory. DDR3 memory for systems is not expected to reach the market until 2006 or thereabouts, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research Inc., in an interview earlier this week.

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Tom Krazit

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