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AMD pushes Radeon brand into system RAM

AMD has quietly extended the Radeon brand it acquired through the purchase of graphics specialist ATI, creating own-brand DRAM in an attempt to corner more of the lucrative PC component market.

Described by AMD as "ideally suited to our CPU and APU products," the new AMD Radeon DDR3 System Modules - that's 'memory' to you and me - feature AMD-branded DRAM chips and the familiar red Radeon logo previously only seen on the company's various graphics card offerings.

Radeon is a name which has a certain amount of traction in such circles: originally part of ATI, which AMD acquired in 2006 in order to offer both CPU and GPU technologies to its customers, it's one of two main discrete GPU brands on the market today alongside Nvidia's GeForce.

For those who are fans of the brand, AMD's move into system memory will be a welcome surprise: an enthusiast could now potentially build a system featuring an AMD processor on an AMD motherboard powered by an AMD chipset, with an AMD Radeon graphics card or two and AMD Radeon RAM.

The company has confirmed that it will be launching three types of RAM under the Radeon brand: Entertainment, aimed at the budget buyer; Ultra Pro Gaming, aimed at the enthusiast with money to spend and a desire for allegedly hand-picked components; and Enterprise, which are aimed at servers and workstations.

The core specifications are the same in each line: each 30mm-high PCB offers 2GB of DDR3 RAM in a standard 240-pin DIMM package, with only the performance changing with each: the Entertainment line offers 1,333Mb/s throughput with 9-9-9 timings; the Ultra Pro Gaming line boosts performance to 1,600Mb/s at 11-11-11 timings; while the as-yet unlaunched Enterprise line is 'to be determined,' according to the company's official spec sheet.

The move makes sense for the company, which already produces a range of memory chips for its Radeon hardware partners to use in their graphics card designs. Although the higher-end parts are high-speed graphics-specific GDDR5, the company also produces a range of DDR3 for the cheaper cards. By taking unsold inventory and packaging it as a DIMM, AMD is able to get rid of its excess while pushing forward into a new market.

So far, AMD hasn't indicated pricing on any of the modules in its new Radeon range, but Japanese news site Akiba PC Hotline has found examples of the Entertainment line on sale in "very small quantities" for ¥1,570, or around £12.30.