As cool and exciting as HBM might be, virtually all discrete graphics cards are still using GDDR5 or GDDR5X memory. That’s not especially likely to change, either, given the relative complexity and cost of the ultra-wide and super-dense HBM. Most of the next generation of graphics cards is likely to continue using more traditional DRAM packages. Samsung just announced that it’s begun mass production of 16-gigabit GDDR6 chips for that task.
“Beginning with this early production of the industry’s first 16Gb GDDR6, we will offer a comprehensive graphics DRAM line-up, with the highest performance and densities, in a very timely manner,” said Samsung’s Senior VP Jinman Han. The company also did a minor tease, saying the chips “will play a critical role in early launches of next-generation graphics cards and systems.”
Just in case anyone reading this site should struggle with basic arithmetic, these chips store 2 GB of information. That’s half the capacity of the usual 4 GB HBM2 stack that we see, although Samsung does offer 8 GB HBM2 chips. Perhaps more interesting is the performance potential of the new DRAM packages. Samsung says they perform at up to 18 Gbps per pin. Multiplying by their 32-bit data path gives us a peak throughput of 72 GB/s on a single chip.
Samsung says its new RAM is fabricated on a “10nm-class” process. The new memory only takes 1.35 V to hit that scorching transfer rate, too, while typical GDDR5 requires 1.55 V to do its thing. The chaebol outright says that it expects this memory to feature in “next-generation graphics cards and systems,” and we’d be surprised if it didn’t show up aboard some fancy new graphics cards before long.