The availability of a new type of memory chip is often a harbinger of new graphics processors. Micron's announcement that the company has started volume production of next-generation GDDR6 memory could be a precursor to the next go-round of cards for gamers and for data scientists in the fields of deep learning and AI. The company specifically says it has begun mass production of 8-Gb memory chips (1 GB). The company's catalog shows that initial GDDR6 RAM will have speeds ranging from 10 to 14 Gbps per pin at voltages from 1.25 to 1.35 V. An eventual 16-Gbps version will target up to 64 GB/s of bandwidth from one package.
Just like every other time the number after the letters "GDDR" has gone up, Micron is saying the fresh silicon delivers a significant performance boost and more bandwidth compared to the previous generation of graphics RAM. The application of the new silicon to graphics cards and deep-learning hardware is inevitable, but the company also says that high-end networking hardware, RAID controllers, and automotive systems will also take advantage of the increased memory bandwidth provided by GDDR6. The manufacturer goes on to tout the 448 GB/s available in auto-qualified GDDR6 configurations, a figure the company says is more than double what's provided by current "LPDDR5" memory systems.
The company says it has been sampling GDDR6 memory chips to its partners so they can get a start on designing controllers and accessory components for the new memory type. Rambus, every Pentium 4 owner's favorite memory IP company, is the first company with a GDDR6 PHY ready for integration into other products.
Micron is showing off its brand-new +6 Chips of Graphics Remembering in its booth at the ISC High Performance show in Frankfurt this week. The company didn't speculate on when gamers and data scientists might expect to lay hands on products containing the new enchantment, but we wouldn't be surprised if something will hit the PC market before the end of the year. That said, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has said that the company's next-gen GeForce announcement won't be for "a long time," so pinning the tail on the launch donkey could be a fool's errand.
In any case, SK Hynix and Samsung have already announced mass production of GDDR6 memory, so Micron's relatively late ramp seems unlikely to impede any consumer products designed around this RAM that were already in the pipe. We've all heard the rumors that Nvidia will broach the topic of a new generation of GeForce cards later in August, and that may be where we first see this RAM as part of a shipping product. Only time will tell.