ATI has announced "HyperMemory", a new memory technology for its PCI Express-based graphics systems that bridges a connection between the graphics processor and system memory.

The company said that HyperMemory promises lower overall system costs by leading to less dependence on discrete graphics memory. ATI plans to announce graphics cards featuring HyperMemory technology later this year.

Up until now, high-performance graphics hardware in Macs and PCs has depended on having dedicated video RAM -- VRAM -- for the graphics processor to use for frame buffering, texture mapping and other activities.

The use of system memory for graphics processing has been relegated to low-performance systems only, as bottlenecks exist between the graphics processor and the system memory. With the advent of PCI Express and its high-speed bidirectional data transfer capabilities, however, ATI claims that graphics cards can now use the computer's system memory instead.

PCI Express is gaining traction in the PC market however, especially with a strong push made both by ATI and fierce rival Nvidia, though has yet to appear on any Mac models.