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AMD Working On GDDR6 Memory Technology For Upcoming Graphics Cards

A rumor recently surfaced involving the LinkedIn page of an AMD technical engineer that listed the company working on a GDDR6 memory controller. I reached out to some people and can confirm that AMD is indeed working on the GDDR6 standard and will be actively using it in future graphics cards. As for the question that I am sure everyone will ask next, no AMD will still be sticking to HBM2 for its high end next generation graphics cards in 2018 (aka Navi).

HBM2 will remain the memory of choice for the high end AMD Radeon GPUs in 2018, working on GDDR6 graphics cards

The leak originally stemmed from a picture of a LinkedIn profile showing an AMD engineer listing the GDDR6 memory controller technology in his portfolio. This is usually a fairly obvious way of confirming a leak but the profile in question was nowhere to be found. This is why I decided to reach out to sources familiar with the matter myself and can confirm that AMD is indeed working on GDDR6 memory technology and will be adopting it.

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The next obvious question becomes when and where will we see it used, to that, the only reply I got was that AMD will still be sticking with HBM technology in high end graphics cards in 2018. Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix all have roadmaps that show their GPU SKUs rolling out by the end of 2017 or early 2018. In either case it looks like video card manufacturers will have access to the incredibly fast memory standard from Q1 2018. Since pricing will almost certainly be expensive in the beginning and it remains to be seen just how it fares in comparison with HBM.

Now AMD has previously teased that Navi will next-gen HBM memory, so it remains to be seen whether they are talking about HBM2 or the elusive HBM3 standard (which should be still faster than the GDDR6 standard) Edit: they are talking about HBM2. In any case, we do know for sure the company will be sticking with HBM technology for all its high end graphics cards indicating that either they will not be rolling out any GDDR6 based cards in 2018, or keeping it limited to mid-end or the professional side of things.

Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix have all officially stated that they will be producing the fastest and lowest-power DRAM for next generation products.  Samsung has currently listed a 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM in their portfolio but that can be expanded upon in the future when production hits full swing. With a transfer rate of 16Gbps, the DRAM will be able to pump out 64 GB/s bandwidth (per chip). The memory operates at just 1.35V.

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Samsung 16Gb GDDR6 Memory – The fastest and lowest-power DRAM for next generation, graphics-intensive applications. It processes images and video at 16Gbps with 64GB/s data I/O bandwidth, which is equivalent to transferring approximately 12 full-HD DVDs (5GB equivalent) per second. The new DRAM can operate at 1.35 volts, offering further advantages over today’s graphics memory that uses 1.5V at only 8Gbps. via Samsung

Compared to current generation GDDR5 DRAM, we are looking at both, increased bandwidth and transfer speeds (8Gbps vs 16 Gbps) at lower power consumption (1.5V vs 1.35V). The specifications can easily be compared to current DRAM standards. We know that GDDR5 can reach up to 9 Gbps as NVIDIA launched their GTX 1060 in faster memory variants. That’s the practical limit of where the memory architecture can go. Then we have GDDR5X, a refined implementation of GDDR5 that is better in every aspect.

The GDDR5X memory operates at much faster speeds and has practically hit 16 Gbps as confirmed by Micron themselves. While GDDR5X can hit same speeds as GDDR6, the latter comes with better optimizations and higher densities. – and Samsung it claiming it to be an upgrade over G5X. We are looking at speeds of 12-14 Gbps becoming standard in the graphics industry while 16 Gbps will ship out in the high performance sector. There’s also up to 32 Gb density support while GDDR5/X max out at 16 Gb.

GPU Memory Technology Updates:

Graphics Card Name Memory Technology Memory Speed Memory Bus Memory Bandwidth Release
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GDDR5X 10.0 Gbps 256-bit 320 GB/s 2016
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit bus GDDR6 12.0 Gbps 256-bit 384 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit bus GDDR6 14.0 Gbps 256-bit 448GB/s 2018
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 HBM2 1.9 Gbps 2048-bit 483 GB/s 2017
AMD Radeon R9 Fury X HBM1 1.0 Gbps 4096-bit 512 GB/s 2015
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit bus GDDR6 16.0 Gbps 256-bit 512 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Titan Xp GDDR5X 11.4 Gbps 384-bit 547 GB/s 2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit bus GDDR6 18.0 GB/s 256-bit 576 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit bus GDDR6 20 GB/s 384-bit 640 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit bus GDDR6 12.0 Gbps 384-bit 576 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Titan V HBM2 1.7 Gbps 3072-bit 652.8 GB/s 2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit bus GDDR6 14.0 Gbps 384-bit 672GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Tesla P100 HBM2 1.4 Gbps 4096-bit 720 GB/s 2016
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit bus GDDR6 16.0 Gbps 384-bit 768 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit bus GDDR6 18.0 GB/s 384-bit 864 GB/s 2018
NVIDIA Tesla V100 HBM2 1.7 Gbps 4096-bit 901 GB/s 2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit bus GDDR6 20 GB/s 384-bit 960 GB/s 2018
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SK Hynix Has Also Made GDDR6 Memory Available To Customers - 8Gb Densities With Up To 14 Gbps Speeds

Samsung Begins Mass Producing Fastest 18 Gbps GDDR6 Memory For High Performance Graphics Cards - Up To 24 GB of VRAM, 864 GB/s Bandwidth

Micron Completes GDDR6 Design and Qualification, Hitting Mass Production in First Half of 2018 - Aiming For NVIDIA's and AMD's High-End Gaming Products

Samsung GDDR6 Memory Arriving Next Year With 16 Gbps Speeds - Designed For NVIDIA Volta Gaming GPUs and More, Receives CES 2018 Innovation Award

Micron To Begin Mass Production of GDDR6 Memory in Early 2018 - GDDR5X Achieves 16 Gbps Speeds