Samsung has beaten SK Hynix and Micron to be the first to mass produce GDDR6 memory chips. Samsung’s 16Gb (2GB) chips are fabricated on a 10nm process and run at 1.35V. The new chips have a whopping 18Gb/s pin speed and will be able to reach a transfer rate of 72GB/s. Samsung’s current 8Gb (1GB) GDDR5 memory chips, besides having half the density, work at 1.55V with up to 9Gb/s pin speeds. In a pre-CES 2018 press release (opens in new tab), Samsung briefly mentioned the impending release of these chips. However, the speed on release is significantly faster than the earlier stated 16Gb/s pin speed and 64GB/s transfer rate.
As for the aforementioned competition, SK Hynix released details of its GDDR6 chips about half a year ago, while Micron said its chips were on track for mass production sometime this year. SK Hynix’s first GDDR6 chip was said to be an 8Gb, 16Gb/s chip that also runs at 1.35V. A 16Gb chip was planned for later release. Micron never detailed a specific chip but predicted that its GDDR6 chips would start at 12Gb/s, about the same speed as its current fastest GDDR5X chips, before also eventually reaching 16Gb/s, too.
We’ll have to wait for Samsung’s chips to reach some GPUs before we’ll know whether they’re actually able to run at speeds that beat what both competitors have said they hope to hit.
For comparison’s sake, the GTX 1080, which released with 10Gb/s GDDR5X, had a memory bandwidth of 320GB/s on a 256-bit bus. The same card with 16Gb/s and 18Gb/s memory would have a memory bandwidth of 512GB/s and 576Gb/s, respectively. This bandwidth would put it in the territory of the current Titan Xp, which runs on 11.4Gb/s GDDR5X but has a 50% wider bus.