Elpida moves into graphics memory realm

Japanese memory company Elpida said it has bought technology licenses from Infineon spin-off Qimonda and will start manufacturing DRAM aimed at the graphics market.

Qimonda is in insolvency and will create a GDDR business at its Munich Design Center with 50 engineers and other Qimonda employees.

It will start shipping one gigabit GDDR3 and one gigabit GDDR5 products in the first half of next year – with production of the semiconductors outsourced to Winbond, a former Qimonda partner. Elpida will start mass producing two gigabit GDDR5 at its Hiroshima fab in the second half of next year.

Elpida’s entry into the GDDR business is a calculated gamble – there are only a few worldwide suppliers in the marketplace, and the move will also buffer it against the straight DRAM market, which is in the doldrums.

Takao Adachi, Elpida’s CTO, said: “Graphics systems now need graphics buffer memory with a data transfer rate of five gigabit/sec. We will shortly begin commercial production of GDDR5, for which an even faster data transfer rate of eight gigabit/sec may be feasible in the near future.”

He continued: “The important GDDR technologies we have acqired can now contribute not only to Elpida’s graphics memory development, but also to the improvement of our overall DRAM design technologies.”