Samsung First to Graphics Chip Market
Leaping ahead might give the memory chip maker bigger slice of graphics chip market.
by Douglass C. Perry
June 22, 2005 - The Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung announced today it's the first supplier to mass produce graphics chips for next generation systems, specifically Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Director of graphics for the U.S. semiconductor unit of Samsung, Mueez Deen, explained that the company has started high-volume manufacturing of 512-megabit graphics DDR3 (graphics double data rate) memory chips for use in consoles and PCs.
Samsung's chips run at top speeds of 1.6 gigabits, and when organized properly, they're able to achieve data transfer speeds of 6.4 gigabytes, or billions of bytes, per second. Samsung said it's already in development with a 2.0 gigabit per second GDDR3 chip capable of processing graphics 50% faster than the 512 megabit chip now in mass production. When 2.0-gigabit chips are mounted together on a graphics card they can achieve 8.0 gigabyte-per-second speeds.
With this move, Samsung hopes to increase marketshare over rivals Hynix Semiconductor Inc. of South Korea and Infineon Technologies AG of Germany. Given their predilection for high-performance PC game systems, gamers are likely to help create a larger market for Samsung's latest graphics chips, with the console market perhaps representing the biggest initial market. Mercury Research forecasts that the global graphics memory chip market will increase 43% to $1.5 billion in 2005 and exceed $2 billion in 2006.