Having started the GDDR5 chip production in late 2007, the company believes the transition to GDDR5 in the mainstream market will take place in 2009. However, for early adopters and high-end users, the changeover has already begun, says Feurle.
At the same time, the company is already heading for higher densities. Currently, Qimonda manufactures standard GDDR5 512 Mbit devices as well as 1 Gbit memory chips. While in the GDDR3 market, the 1 Gbit devices already have surpassed 512 Mbit in terms of volume, this process will happen in the GDDR5 market in about three months, Feurle said. The company has implemented an aggressive roadmap to higher densities. 2 GBit devices are scheduled for ramp-up in 2010, and 4 GBit devices are already in sight, with the company's buried wordline technology being an important productivity booster since it enables smaller memory cells, Feurle said.
The development does not only aim at higher densities and lower power but to higher bandwidths as well. While the company presently has devices for data speeds of 4.0 Gbps and 5.0 Gbps in mass production, it is already working on faster chips. Qimonda engineers have built a 6.4 Gbps reference platform which will be available in the next chip generation. Unlike GDDR4 which will remain a technology for a small niche, GDDR5 is here to stay for a while, Feurle believes. "It has enough headroom for the about five years as the dominating standard," he said.
AMD currently uses GDDR5 memory for its RV770 GPUs and the upcoming dual-GPU R700 and there's a rumour that NVIDIA might introduce a new GPU with GDDR5 support in the fourth quarter.