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

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Dec 25, 2017
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Micron has confirmed in a blog post that they have officially completed the design and device qualification of their next generation GDDR6 memory. They have also stated that the company plans to begin mass production of the next generation memory during first half of 2018.

Micron Officially Completes GDDR6 Design and Qualification, Mass Production Is The Next Step For Early 2018

Kristopher Kido, Director of Micron’s global Graphics Memory Business, confirmed in their blog that their advanced GDDR6 memory has completed design and device qualification and is now heading over to mass production which should commence sometime in early 2018. Micron’s graphics division which are based in Munich and Boise were responsible for this key achievement in the memory development and they have reported that they are very pleased with the memory performance that GDDR6 will offer to customers across a range of products that crave memory bandwidth.

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In June of this year, we mentioned that our GDDR6 program was on track and progressing well. Since that time, our Graphics teams in Munich and Boise have been hard at work, and both design and device qualification are complete. We are very pleased with the performance this memory will offer our customers across a range of products that crave memory bandwidth. via Micron

Micron was the only memory manufacturer to work on GDDR5X and offer various configurations of the said memory, allowing them to put their attained expertise in the next-gen GDDR6 memory which shares a lot of fundamentals with G5X.

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Being the only memory manufacturer to design, test, and mass produce G5X puts us in a unique position with GDDR6, which shares a very similar specification. Our initial progress is very promising, as you can tell in the data eye and wafer schmoos I’ve posted with this blog. Designing devices with the level of high-speed signaling required for these graphics memories is no simple task. We are confident our GDDR6 is leading the industry in these metrics, and we share them because we think it’s important for our customers to see this progress. via Micron

Micron has estimated that GDDR6 will achieve 16 Gb/s bin over time while the initial GDDR6 mass production will hit speeds of 12 and 14 GB/s. These speeds still put the GDDR6 memory a lot fast compared to G5X and GDDR5 variants.

First, we have recently begun mass production shipments of 8Gb GDDR5 on our most advanced production DRAM node. This gives our customers and partners a long-term support option for a proven graphics memory and delivers increased speed margins. via Micron

Talking about GDDR5, Micron also confirmed that they are going to begin mass production shipments of 8Gb GDDR5 memory on their advanced  “1Xnm” DRAM process node which is listed in their long term product roadmap for GDDR5. While GDDR6 will be set as the next standard for high-performance graphics cards, budget and entry level cards will continue using GDDR5 memory as GDDR6 will come at a slight premium while GDDR5 will offer a fast lower cost solution.

Micron GDDR6 Memory Specifications – 16Gb Dies With Up To 16 Gbps Transfer Rates

As for GDDR6 specifications, Micron has stated that the new memory standard will continue down the path of the successful G5X memory. While the new memory technology would be very similar to GDDR5X, there are a few differences of which the major ones include:

  1. The introduction of an FBGA180 ball package with increased pitch
  2. A dual channel architecture

With regards to the status of Micron’s G6 program, which we first announced in February, I am pleased to report that our product development efforts are on-track and we expect to have functional silicon very soon. By leveraging our G5X based high speed signaling experience from roughly 2 years of design, mass production, test and application knowledge, I am confident we are well positioned to bring the industry’s most robust G6 to mass production by early 2018. via Micron

So coming to the specifications, GDDR6 will come in 8Gb and 16Gb densities while the standard followed by JEDEC allows for up to 32Gb dies. The 8Gb DRAM dies will allow for up to 8 GB VRAM on a 256-bit wide card and 12 GB VRAM along a 384-bit wide card. The 16Gb dies will essentially double the VRAM since each chip will feature 2 GB VRAM. A 384-bit bus card could feature up to 24 GB while dies with 32Gb density will deliver 48 GB VRAM along the same interface.

Looking at the speeds, we are seeing an incredible jump from 12 Gbps (GDDR5X) to 16 Gbps (GDDR6). The NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Xp packs the most bandwidth on any consumer GPU to date with a total amount of 547.7 GB/s using 11.4 Gbps GDDR5X chips. The first generation GDDR5X chips were ran at 10 Gbps on the GTX 1080 which was recently upgraded to even faster 11 Gbps G5X chips.

GPU Memory Technology Updates:

Graphics Card NameMemory TechnologyMemory SpeedMemory BusMemory BandwidthRelease
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080GDDR5X10.0 Gbps256-bit320 GB/s2016
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit busGDDR612.0 Gbps256-bit384 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit busGDDR614.0 Gbps256-bit448GB/s2018
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64HBM21.9 Gbps2048-bit483 GB/s2017
AMD Radeon R9 Fury XHBM11.0 Gbps4096-bit512 GB/s2015
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit busGDDR616.0 Gbps256-bit512 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Titan XpGDDR5X11.4 Gbps384-bit547 GB/s2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit busGDDR618.0 GB/s256-bit576 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 256-bit busGDDR620 GB/s384-bit640 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit busGDDR612.0 Gbps384-bit576 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Titan VHBM21.7 Gbps3072-bit652.8 GB/s2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit busGDDR614.0 Gbps384-bit672GB/s2018
NVIDIA Tesla P100HBM21.4 Gbps4096-bit720 GB/s2016
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit busGDDR616.0 Gbps384-bit768 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit busGDDR618.0 GB/s384-bit864 GB/s2018
NVIDIA Tesla V100HBM21.7 Gbps4096-bit901 GB/s2017
NVIDIA Next GPU With 384-bit busGDDR620 GB/s384-bit960 GB/s2018

We can look forward to a range of high-end and mainstream graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD in 2018. GPU manufacturers will have the options to select from multiple DRAM manufacturers as Micron, Samsung and SK Hynix have already planned to begin mass production of GDDR6 memory in 2018.

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