Micron detailed its upcoming GDDR6 memory chips and announced that it is working with multiple hardware partners to broaden the applications for the memory beyond graphics.
Following Samsung’s earlier announcement, Micron has added its new GDDR6 memory chips to its catalog. There are three chips, all of which are 8Gb (1GB) and running at 1.35V. The three chips have a speed of 12, 13, and 14Gb/s, respectively. Not only are these speeds significantly lower than the 18Gb/s chips Samsung have, which are also twice as dense at 16Gb (2GB), they’re also not at the 16Gb/s that Micron says it is still targeting. Micron’s own fastest GDDR5X 8Gb chip already reaches 12Gb/s at 1.35V, so Micron’s early GDDR6 chips seem to be taking baby steps. Samsung’s chips’ significant advantage come partially from their 10nm production process, which is significantly smaller than the 16nm process Micron will use. They are also already in production, while Micron’s are still listed as sampling.
In addition to Micron’s announcement, three hardware IP partners--Rambus, Northwest Logic, and Avery Design--made their own announcements. Seeing the potential for the use of GDDR6 outside of GPUs, the three are working to deliver a standalone GDDR6 controller IP. In the silicon design industry, an intellectual property (IP) commonly refers to a third-party, wholly finished hardware design that is licensed or bought and integrated into one’s own chip design. This allows for design reuse and cuts the effort of designing one’s own hardware.
Since AMD and Nvidia have been using GDDR since the beginning, both companies already have their own implementations of GDDR controllers. For everyone else, however, the need to build one’s own controller would be a serious hurdle for adopting the memory. By creating their controller, Micron’s partnership is looking to expand GDDR6 adoption to non-GPU SOCs. The hope is that it will see use in autonomous vehicle systems, which rely heavily on image processing, and the networking industry, among others. Also, because GDDR6 is standardized by JEDEC, like all previous versions of DDR and GDDR, the Micron partnership’s controller will be driving sales for all OEMs’ GDDR6 chips.