GDDR6 Overclocking Potential Revealed – Micron States Up To 20 Gb/s Possible With Small Voltage Bump on 16 Gb/s Modules

Hassan Mujtaba

Micron in their latest research article has revealed the full potential of their upcoming GDDR6 memory which will be equipped with the latest graphics cards from GPU manufacturers. The GDDR6 memory has been in works for quite some time and many manufacturers have already started mass production so we can expect to see the memory shipping soon in the latest cards.

Micron GDDR6 Memory Research Article Reveals Full Potential - Up To 20 Gb/s Possible With Little But Effective Voltage Bump

Within the research paper, Micron discusses several aspects of the GDDR6 memory which includes silicon changes, channel enhancements, and performance measurements. While GDDR6 follows an evolutionary path over GDDR5 and GDDR5X memory, there are still some significant changes in the underlying architecture to boost memory bandwidth while saving power. This makes the VRAM a viable option for next-generation consumer graphics cards such as NVIDIA's upcoming line of the GeForce products.

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One detail that caught my eye was the Micron has already determined in performance measuring that their GDDR6 memory could extend beyond the 16.5 Gb/s range. The result proved that with a slight but helpful bump in I/O voltage, the memory chips can push speeds as high as 20 Gb/s which is a significant jump from the JEDEC defined 14 Gb/s target.

While the preceding results demonstrate full DRAM functionality up to as high as 16.5Gb/s, it is possible for the overall performance of an architecture to be capped by timing limitations in the memory array itself. To determine if this GDDR6 interface could extend beyond the 16.5Gb/s range, the device was placed into a mode of operation which exercises only the I/O while bypassing the memory array.

The oscilloscope measurement presented in Fig.15 confirms that when bypassing the memory array, and with a small, but helpful, boost in I/O supply voltage, it is possible to push Micron Technology, Inc.’s GDDR6 I/O as high as 20Gb/s.

We know that from our own experience that GDDR5X proved to provide a big boost in memory performance with clock bump. At reference voltage, it was able to achieve the same clock rates that are offered on the Titan XP with a GTX 1080. If we are looking at similar performance scaling with GDDR6, then 20 Gb/s overclocks on upcoming cards can provide a similar performance boost.

So just what kind of performance we might expect from a 20 Gb/s clock bump, well to put things into perspective, a 256-bit card with such speeds would able to deliver 640 Gb/s bandwidth which is close to Titan V's 652.8 Gb/s (HBM2). A 384-bit card would almost hit the 1 Tb/s barrier with an approximate bandwidth of 960 GB/s surpassing NVIDIA's Tesla V100 solution.

GPU Memory Technology Updates

Graphics Card NameMemory TechnologyMemory SpeedMemory BusMemory BandwidthRelease
AMD Radeon R9 Fury XHBM11.0 Gbps4096-bit512 GB/s2015
NVIDIA GTX 1080GDDR5X10.0 Gbps256-bit320 GB/s2016
NVIDIA Tesla P100HBM21.4 Gbps4096-bit720 GB/s2016
NVIDIA Titan XpGDDR5X11.4 Gbps384-bit547 GB/s2017
AMD RX Vega 64HBM21.9 Gbps2048-bit483 GB/s2017
NVIDIA Titan VHBM21.7 Gbps3072-bit652 GB/s2017
NVIDIA Tesla V100HBM21.7 Gbps4096-bit901 GB/s2017
NVIDIA RTX 2080 TiGDDR614.0 Gbps384-bit672 GB/s2018
AMD Instinct MI100HBM22.4 Gbps4096-bit1229 GB/s2020
NVIDIA A100 80 GBHBM2e3.2 Gbps5120-bit2039 GB/s2020
NVIDIA RTX 3090GDDR6X19.5 Gbps384-bit936.2 GB/s2020
AMD Instinct MI200HBM2e3.2 Gbps8192-bit3200 GB/s2021
NVIDIA RTX 3090 TiGDDR6X21.0 Gbps384-bit1008 GB/s2022

Micron mentions that they are very confident in claiming that GDDR6 data rates are gonna extend beyond the Jedec defined speeds so this is a just a hint of the overclocking potential we would get to see on the next-generation gaming cards.

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