Elpida Memory has completed development of its first DDR3 memory chip - promising better PC performance.

DDR3 chips can communicate with the rest of the computer at a much faster speed than today's memory chips. At present, most computers use DDR memory that runs at 400MHz. More advanced DDR2 memory is becoming popular and that can operate at speeds between 400MHz and 800MHz. Elpida's DDR3 chip works at 1.3GHz.

The new chip brings another benefit: lower power consumption. It operates on a 1.5 volt supply versus the 1.8 volt used for DDR2 memory. While the difference is small, that can add up to extra battery life in battery-powered devices because the chips use less power themselves and don't get as hot so less cooling is required.

The Japanese company is not the first to announce development of a DDR3 chip. In February, Samsung said it had developed a 512M-bit DDR3 chip that runs at 1.06GHz.

Elpida's chip, which has a capacity of 512Mb, will be available for evaluation early next year and will go into commercial production "later in the year", said a company spokeswoman.