Where does graphics memory go from here?

— 4:06 AM on December 19, 2002

According to this article over at EE Times, there's a coming split in the graphics memory market. On one side, you have NVIDIA, whose new GeForce FX uses DDR-II. On the other, you have ATI, who is sticking with DDR-I for now, but looking ahead to DDR-III.

So where do we go from here? In truth, no one knows for sure:

Though Nvidia and ATI each has decided which DRAM horse it will ride, executives at both companies said customer demand ultimately will determine which memory type receives their full support.
As you may recall, ATI has already demonstrated a Radeon 9700 Pro using DDR-II memory, but its next graphics chips may still use DDR-I. Hynix is producing DDR-I chips that run at 500MHz, which combined with the Radeon 9700 Pro's 256-bit memory bus, could yield an impressive amount of memory bandwidth.

Sticking with DDR-I for now might not be such a bad idea given the current state of DDR-II standards, either.

Creating further confusion is the fact that GDDR-II is itself fragmented into three versions, each of which uses different register sets. Elpida's Sogas said there has been such a rush to market by DRAM manufacturers that different GDDR-II designs were finalized before a single Jedec standard was drafted.
ATI and NVIDIA claim their designs will work with any of the available DDR-II variants, but JEDEC isn't expected to set an official spec until September of next year. With a DDR-II-powered GeForce FX expected at the end of January, September seems so very far away.
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