Hitachi Semiconductor is working on one gigabyte memory chips that it claims will give future PCs truly realistic 3D graphics and full-motion video applications.
The chip technology, around 30 times today?s PC standard, will allow a computer?s main memory to store one gigabyte of data, an amount that equals some hard disk drives today. The graphics and video quality this size chip is capable of delivering will be a boon to consumers, especially serious games players.
Industry watchers also believe that this type of high capacity memory chip will be essential for running powerful next-generation operating systems.
Hitachi has assembled the one gigabyte memory modules from 36 256-megabit DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips. The majority of PCs today come configured with 32Mbytes of memory using 16 megabit chips.
The one gigabyte memory chips are set to go into volume production at the beginning of next year. Initially they are only likely to appear in high-performance workstations and servers due to cost - around $6,000.
Memory manufacturers, however, are fast shifting from 16 megabit to 64 megabit chips. An increasing number of PCs are now being shipped with 64Mbytes of memory as standard, which uses eight 64 megabit chips.
This spells good news for Japanese and Asian memory manufacturers who can charge higher prices for high performance chips. Tumbling 16 megabit DRAM prices have resulted in profit crashes for many of these companies over the past year.
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