For the first time, Samsung is manufacturing GDDR6 memory in mass quantities. The memory is faster and more efficient than the GDDR5 memory it succeeds, and it will likely appear on PC graphics cards this year.
Samsung’s GDDR6 memory is based on the company’s 10-nanometer technology and offers double the density of the company’s 20-nanometer GDDR5 offerings, meaning 16 gigabits instead of eight gigabits. The company promises an 18Gbps pin speed and transfer rates of up to 72GB/s. Further, the new chips will run at 1.35V. The GDDR5 predecessor has a pin speed of 9Gbps and runs at 1.55V.
The result should be significantly faster video cards for gaming and other tasks like video processing and Ethereum mining, if you’re into that sort of thing. Samsung’s press release says that “immediate production of GDDR6 will play a critical role in early launches of next-generation graphics cards and systems.” The GDDR6 chips Samsung is producing will generally edge out what we’re currently seeing in GDDR5X in terms of performance.
Samsung announced plans to produce GDDR6 memory way back in 2016 and revealed just a few months ago that January would be the beginning of production. It’s not the only company planning to manufacture GDDR6, though. SK Hynix and Micron also plan to begin this year. Their roadmaps suggest that they’ll open with 16Gbps and 12Gbps pin speeds, respectively, which are slightly lower than what Samsung is manufacturing right now.
But that’s just the beginning. Expect to see all of these companies push the performance envelope as we proceed through 2018 and into 2019.