Samsung has quietly started sampling its new GDDR6 memory chips that are faster than even GDDR6X SGRAM devices. The new ICs may arrive for next-generation graphics cards or other applications that rely on GDDR6 memory, though it is unclear when these products will hit the market.
Samsung is sampling GDDR6 memory chips featuring a 16Gb capacity and rated to operate at 20 Gbps and 24 Gbps data transfer rates. The K4ZAF325BC-SC20 and K4ZAF325BC-SC2 memory devices are listed in Samsung's product catalog, so these are not experimental chips but products that should be available commercially.
Samsung's 16Gb 20 Gbps and 24 Gbps GDDR6 SGRAM chips come in 180-pin FBGA packages. They are compatible with currently available graphics cards, assuming they have the correct firmware and their memory controller supports the higher data transfer rates.
When Nvidia introduced the GeForce RTX 30-series with GDDR6X memory (which happen to be among the best graphics cards available today), it implied that regular GDDR6 would not scale to 19.5 Gbps or higher. This is why it needed to collaborate with Micron to develop a brand-new type of memory. As it turns out, Samsung can offer GDDR6 at up to 24 Gbps. Such SGRAM chips can provide up to 768 GBps of bandwidth over a 256-bit bus. By contrast, AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT features 512 GBps of bandwidth.
What remains to be seen is which graphics processors can actually support GDDR6 memory at up to 24 Gbps. Keeping in mind that Nvidia already uses GDDR6X and will likely continue to use it for its next-generation consumer-grade graphics cards, we can expect AMD to adopt ultra-fast GDDR6 memory for its upcoming boards based on the RDNA 3 architecture. However, it is unclear whether Samsung samples its latest GDDR6 ICs with AMD, Intel, Nvidia or some of their graphics cards partners.
But graphics cards are not the only applications that use GDDR memory. High-performance GDDR6 can be used for other memory bandwidth-hungry applications, such as network equipment, so it is possible that the first products to use 20 Gbps or 24 Gbps GDDR6 memory will not be graphics cards.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.