Micron Readies GDDR6 At Speeds Up To 16Gbps For Next Gen GPUs In 1H 2018

micron gddr6
Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are becoming an increasingly more valuable resource in the computing arena. We've seen high-powered GPUs powering everything from gaming consoles, to high-end enthusiast PCs, to accelerators used for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, to products like NVIDIA's DRIVE PX which enables advanced machine vision for autonomous vehicles.

As GPUs get more powerful with each new generation, there also comes a need for faster memory to fuel them. In the case of Micron, the company has been delivering GDDR5X memory solutions for today's high-end graphics cards. Micron's GDDR5X started out at 10Gbps, but has since ramped up to 11Gbps and finally 12Gbps production speeds. Moving forward, Micron is looking to place a big emphasis on GDDR6 memory, which will eventually be rated for speeds up to 16Gbps. The first parts that will ship, however, will be rated at between 12Gbps to 14Gbps, though we must keep in mind that Micron's hardware partners will have the final say in determining the speed rating on their shipping products.

Compared to GDDR5X, GDDR6 will use a FBGA180 ball package with an increased pitch of 0.75mm versus FBGA190 and 0.65mm pitch. GDDR6 also moves to a dual-channel architecture instead of single-channel for GDDR5X. We can expect to see GDDR6 empower a new generation of graphics cards, especially when it comes to virtual reality, gaming, and even cryptocurrency mining (which really exploded in 2017 and drove up demand in the GPU sector).

measured link margin
Measured link margin schmoos at 16Gbps

“Our initial progress is very promising,” said Kristopher Kido, Director of Micron’s global Graphics Memory Business. “Designing devices with the level of high-speed signaling required for these graphics memories is no simple task. We are confident our GDDR6 is leading the industry in these metrics, and we share them because we think it’s important for our customers to see this progress.”

Best of all, Micron says that its GDDR6 memory will be landing in the first half of 2018, which is not too far off in the future. Given that Micron has been supplying GDDR5X for NVIDIA's high-end graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp, it stands to reason that NVIDIA's Volta-based GeForce cards might be taking advantage of GDDR6. HBM2, as used in the new TITAN V, is likely out of the question for NVIDIA's enthusiast GPU range, so GDDR6 is the most logical choice.

So, could that mean that we'll see [hypothetical] GeForce GTX 11 Series graphics cards coming within the next few months with scaled down Volta GPUs? We sure hope so. NVIDIA first launched its Pascal-based GeForce GTX 10 family in mid-2016, so we're long overdue for some new blood in the enthusiast GPU market from NVIDIA.