Earlier this week, the first images of AMD-branded system memory began appearing in tech forums around the world. Many enthusiasts were left wondering why anyone would enter such a volatile market at a time when DRAM prices are hitting historic lows. The answer is anything but apparent, especially after our conversations with AMD.
First, a bit of background. For the last month or so, certain retailers have been stocking DDR3 system memory with AMD Radeon branding while AMD’s own website has listed a full range of modules. They basically run the gamut from 1333MHz “Entertainment” specs to 1600MHz modules that are supposed to cater to the gaming crowd but one thing is constant: relatively high latency for their intended markets. Nonetheless, all indicators have pointed to very aggressive pricing albeit with limited offerings for the time being.
So what are AMD’s plans for this newfound product stack? Well, the answer we got was straightforward to say the least:
AMD does not manufacture memory and does not plan to sell system memory directly to our customers. AMD is currently determining if the sale of AMD Radeon-branded memory through channel partners is a viable opportunity and as such it has appeared in some regions for purchase through retail.
In short, AMD is likely getting these modules fabricated by a third party who buys the ICs from one of the large manufacturers (PSC, Elpida, Micron, Winbond, etc.), etches them with the AMD logo and finishes installation onto reference spec circuit boards. They are then sold through AMD’s larger channel partners like Amazon, NCIX, and Newegg instead of leaning towards direct sales to end users. There are of course certain questions regarding warranty information and RMA locations still floating around but we’re sure they’ll be answered in good time.
According to conversations between Hardware Canucks and AMD, these first few products are simply being used to test the desktop market’s reception to Radeon memory modules. The current focus is upon delivering value for money ($20 for a 1333 MHz 2GB module is definitely appealing) but if sales go well, expect an expanded lineup sometime in the future.