Samsung has claimed a memory world first - the first DDR3 chip.

Still a prototype, the memory chip runs four times as fast as those used in current PCs, the company proudly stated. It should lead to better performance in future notebooks, desktops and servers.

DDR3 (double data rate 3) DRAM can process data at up to 1.06Gbit/s and has a capacity of 512MB. Samsung will begin mass producing chips with speeds of 800Mbit/s to 1.06Gbit/s in early 2006, said a company spokeswoman.

DRAM is the main memory type used in PCs and servers. The faster the memory, the more smoothly the computers tend to work.

The main type of DRAM found in most PCs today is DDR SDRAM, which processes data at between 266Mbit/s and 400Mbit/s, depending on the parts. A faster type of DDR called DDR2 has speeds of 400Mbit/s to 667Mbit/s and entered the market late last year, gaining popularity this year, especially among notebook PC vendors.

Because DDR3 processes information faster than its predecessors, it uses less power to do the same amount of work. This means it saves more battery power, making it especially beneficial for notebooks. The chips also operate at a lower voltage. Samsung's DDR3 uses 1.5 volts, compared to 1.8 volts for DDR2. The lower voltage adds to the power saving, further improving battery life.