Samsung Electronics is to start mass-producing Graphics Double Data Rate 5 (GDDR 5) memory in 2008, claiming it consumes less power and is significantly faster than existing chips.

GDDR 5 can transfer data at speeds up to 6Gbps (bits per second), compared to transfer speeds of 3.2Gbps offered by GDDR 4 chips, currently the fastest graphics memory available. The difference is even greater when compared to GDDR 3, which is the most commonly used graphics memory and offers transfer speeds of 1.6Gbps.

The faster transfer speeds mean GDDR 5 is able to move more data, up to 24Gbytes per second, according to Samsung. GDDR 3 and GDDR 4 can move 6.4Gbytes and 9.6Gbytes per second, respectively. The ability of GDDR 5 to move more data means more realistic and detailed graphics images in games and other applications.

Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5V, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips.

Samples of the GDDR 5 chips began shipping to graphics-processor makers last month, and Samsung plans to begin mass production of the chips during the first half of next year.

GDDR 5 memory should first appear in high-end gaming systems where users are willing to pay a premium for better graphics. Samsung did not disclose pricing for the chips.