Samsung teases higher-than-expected speeds from its GDDR6 RAM

Our inboxes are filling up with news of CES' various Innovation Award winners, but it's rare that something truly newsworthy gets highlighted in those messages. Samsung's slate of award-winning products includes at least one point of interest, though. The company bagged an award for its 16 GT/s GDDR6 graphics memory, so it revealed some interesting details of the progress on that product. Samsung says its GDDR6 RAM is already hitting 16 GT/s (presumably per pin), and presuming GDDR6 maintains the 32-bit-wide data interface per chip of GDDR5, that squares with Samsung's claim of 64 GB/s transfer rates per chip.

For perspective, if Samsung is already producing 16 GT/s GDDR6, that means its chips are performing quite a bit better than expected at this stage. Back at Hot Chips, the company said to expect 14 GT/s from its GDDR6 memory chips when it begins mass production of the new graphics RAM next year. GPUs using the new RAM could enjoy an easy doubling of bandwidth compared to today's 8 GT/s GDDR5 for the same capacity: 512 GB/s for an 8GB card, compared to 256 GB/s for cards like the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. They'll also need less power for the memory subsystem, if Samsung's claim of 1.35 V operation for GDDR6 holds. Today's GDDR5 RAM needs 1.5 V in typical operation, according to the company.

There's no telling when GDDR6 will actually show up in shipping products, of course. Nvidia hasn't announced any next-generation graphics processors at this juncture, but it's stuck with GDDR5 and GDDR5X RAM for its consumer products even as it's employed HBM2 in its biggest Pascal and Volta GPUs. Given the headaches AMD seems to be experiencing in securing enough high-performance HBM2 RAM for its Vega graphics cards, that might be a wise decision. Given Samsung's specs, we're eager to see where this next-gen memory ends up.

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