Samsung to demo higher-bandwidth GDDR7 VRAM next month at ISSCC

Samsung
Samsung GDDR7 (Image credit: Samsung)

On February 20th, 2024, Samsung is set to show off two versions of its latest GDDR7 graphics memory technology to other industry players at ISSCC 2024. The ISSCC, or International Solid-State Circuits Conference, is a global forum for manufacturers and other industry players to show off their latest SoCs and advances in solid-state circuits— including, yes, new iterations of DRAM and VRAM.

Samsung showing off GDDR7 at ISSCC this year isn't a huge surprise. After all, last year we heard announcements from both Micron and Samsung that they were planning to release GDDR7 soon, with Micron even specifying a 1H 2024 release window.

GDDR7 VRAM is expected to come with great improvements to not only bandwidth, but also power consumption (at the same performance level of GDDR6/X) thanks to the adoption of PAM3 signaling over traditional signaling methods. Of course, making the most of GDDR7 could still see it using comparable power to modern GDDR6 configurations, just with a higher degree of performance-per-watt. The next revision of USB4 is also expected to adopt PAM3 signaling for reduced power consumption, as well.

Two versions of GDDR7 VRAM are expected to be seen at ISSCC this year: a low-power 35.4 Gb/s per-pin GDDR7 from SK hynix, and a higher-power 37 Gb/s per-pin GDDR7 from Samsung. For your reference, GDDR6X's bandwidth per pin is roughly 19-24 Gigabits, according to Micron.

The low-power version is most likely being targeted at laptops, and its presentation, which is officially titled "A 35.4Gb/s/pin 16Gb GDDR7 with a Low-Power Clocking Architecture and PAM3 IO Circuitry" leans toward this interpretation. 

Meanwhile, the high-power GDDR7 presentation is titled "A 16Gb 37Gb/s GDDR7 DRAM with PAM3-Optimized TRX Equalization and ZQ Calibration." This most likely corresponds to the version of GDDR7 we can expect to see in desktop GPUs — perhaps even later this year, if Micron's past comments on its introducing GDDR7 in 1H 2024 still hold water.

Only time will tell how long it actually takes for us to see GDDR7 in shipping products, embedded into a graphics card or laptop for us end users to enjoy. Considering past comments and the timing of Samsung's upcoming presentation at ISSCC, though, GDDR7-equipped GPUs will likely find their way to us before the end of the year.

  • Metal Messiah.
    Two versions of Samsung's GDDR7 VRAM are expected to be seen at ISSCC this year: a low-power 35.4 Gb/s per-pin GDDR7, and a higher-power 37 Gb/s per-pin GDDR7. For your reference, GDDR6X's bandwidth per pin is roughly 19-24 Gigabits, according to Micron.

    The low-power version is most likely being targeted at laptops, and its presentation, which is officially titled "A 35.4Gb/s/pin 16Gb GDDR7 with a Low-Power Clocking Architecture and PAM3 IO Circuitry" leans toward this interpretation.

    Meanwhile, the high-power GDDR7 presentation is titled "A 16Gb 37Gb/s GDDR7 DRAM with PAM3-Optimized TRX Equalization and ZQ Calibration."

    False/inaccurate info.

    From where did you get the info that Samsung would be showcasing "two" different versions of its next generation GDDR7 memory chips ? The other low-power version is from SK HYNIX.
    Samsung is only expected to showcase a GDDR7 chip that's capable of 37 Gbps data-rate, with 16 Gbit (2 GB) density.

    https://i.imgur.com/nNPKeAT.jpeg
    1751960123898290443View: https://twitter.com/harukaze5719/status/1751960123898290443
    Reply
  • Metal Messiah.
    Considering past comments and the timing of Samsung's upcoming presentation at ISSCC, though, GDDR7-equipped GPUs will likely find their way to us before the end of the year.

    Seems unlikely though from a broader perspective. Some of the GPUs will land up with GDDR6X chips as well.

    Also, I doubt these faster speeds will be ready and produced in enough mass quantities for the next-gen gaming and AI GPU lineups, but at the most, we can expect R7 32 Gbps speeds in some of the upcoming generation of flagship gaming GPUs, i.e. RTX 50-series "Blackwell" graphics cards, as well as AMD's RDNA4-based RX 8000 series.

    Seems too optimistic for the industry to expect 37 Gbps pin speeds on consumer level gaming cards from both Nvidia and AMD anytime soon though IMO.

    Because not all next-generation GPUs will max out 37 Gbps, some may run at lower memory speeds, and they have suitable options in the SK Hynix product stack as well.

    But assuming it indeed pans out, then following would be the "expected" bandwidth the 37 Gbps pin speeds would offer across multiple bus configurations (gaming GPUs):
    512-bit - 2368 GB/s (2.3 TB/s)384-bit - 1776 GB/s (1.7 TB/s)320-bit - 1480 GB/s (1.5 TB/s)256-bit - 1184 GB/s (1.2 TB/s)192-bit - 888 GB/s128-bit - 592 GB/s
    Reply
  • Pierce2623
    Well look at that, the 5060 just got a 64 bit memory bus. That being said, a 192 bit bus will be able to approach 3090 levels of bandwidth
    Reply
  • TheyCallMeContra
    Metal Messiah. said:
    False/inaccurate info.

    From where did you get the info that Samsung would be showcasing "two" different versions of its next generation GDDR7 memory chips ? The other low-power version is from SK HYNIX.
    Samsung is only expected to showcase a GDDR7 chip that's capable of 37 Gbps data-rate, with 16 Gbit (2 GB) density.

    https://i.imgur.com/nNPKeAT.jpeg
    1751960123898290443View: https://twitter.com/harukaze5719/status/1751960123898290443

    the larger 20+ page document I was citing while writing this had several entries between the two GDDR7 entries— including a separate DDR5 presentation from Samsung directly beneath SK hynix's low-power GDDR7 presentation.


    as much as I'd love to be a truly flawless writing machine, the sheer density of text here led to a parsing error on my end. fixes have already been submitted and should be live soon— thanks for catching this one. sorry I let it slip!
    Reply