GDDR5 gets two competitors: Elpida, Winbond acquire Qimonda's GDDR IP
8/14/2009 by: Theo Valich
Ever since AMD launched GDDR5 memory standard, back in May of 2008 - we only saw three manufacturers of GDDR5 memory chips: Hynix, Samsung and Qimonda. Oddly enough, we also saw all of our boards equipped with Qimonda GDDR5 memory chips fail, but that's another story altogether.
Players such as Elpida, Micron, Winbond and others did come out with some announcements, but the overall shipped units were negligible. With Qimonda AG falling apart, last three weeks saw the purchase agreements between Qimonda and two new GDDR vendors: Elpida and now Winbond.
In a recent press release, Winbond Electronics Corporation announced "entering into a license and sale and purchase agreement regarding Graphics Double Data Rate (GDDR)" - or long story short, Winbond can make GDDR chips too.
Qimonda's court-ordered bankruptcy commissioner agreed on a sale of these patents, know-how, and software to companies, reducing the existing debt and creating a quartet of GDDR5 manufacturers: Elpida, Hynix, Samsung and now Winbond.
In a statement from Winbond, we saw that the company wants to go big after the lofty contracts in the desktop, notebook and more importantly, game console markets. Qimonda's GDDR3 memory was present in all three major consoles on the market: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. If you got the contract to manufacture memory for Nintendo Wii, for instance, that meant you'll sell more than 200 million GDDR chips to a single vendor. In fact, Qimonda would still be on the market if the company didn't got caught in the large expenses of going to the next step of manufacturing process at the same time when the world's economy tanked.
But what's done is done - now the users of GDDR memory have larger choice to play with, and knowing Elpida and Winbond, we're in for a good ride that will bring the prices down and accelerate the adoption of GDDR memory.
Truth to be told, we cannot stop wondering what would happen if a CPU manufacturer such as AMD or Intel would demonstrate GDDR5 memory with their CPUs… even though the memory amount would be much smaller, bandwidth figures between 61GB/s (Dual channel GDDR5, 128-bit e.g. AMD Phenom II, Intel Core i5-700/i7-800 series) and 91GB/s (Triple-Channel GDDR5 at 950 MHz, 192-bit e.g. Intel Core i7-900, i9-1000 series) can only make us wonder.
In any case - Elpida, Winbond - welcome to the cut-throat business of GDDR memory.
Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3, Qimonda, Qimonda AG, GDDR, Elpida, Winbond, Winbond Electronics corporation, GDDR5, GDDR5 memory, Samsung, Hynix, ATI, AMD, nVidia, Joe Macri, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony
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