Micron starts mass producing GDDR5X memory ahead of schedule

GeForce GTX 1080 kicks off the GDDR5X party.

Micron is a step or two ahead of where it thought it would be at this point. Back in February, Micron said it was on track to start mass producing GDDR5X memory chips by this summer, but was able to kick things up a notch early than expected.

"Today, I am happy to announce that GDDR5X, the fastest discrete memory component in the world, has already entered mass production.  With gaming and virtual reality driving  continuous increases in performance requirements for GPUs, it’s a critical time to deliver higher memory bandwidth and efficiency, and GDDR5X is well positioned to help drive these new efficiencies," Kristopher Kido, Director of Micron's global Graphics Memory Business, stated in a blog post.

With mass production under way, we can cross our fingers that Nvidia's recently launched GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card will be readily available for purchase in sufficient quantity when it hits retail on  J̶u̶n̶e̶ ̶1̶0̶  May 27 comes out on June 10). Nvidia chose the higher end memory for its GTX 1080, whereas the GeForce GTX 1070 uses GDDR5 memory chips.

Both cards bring the boom, but having GDDR5X memory takes things to another level for the GeForce GTX 1080. Using a 256-bit memory bus, the GTX 1080 packs 8GB of quad data rate GDDR5X memory at 10Gb/s for 320GB/s of memory bandwidth.

"This memory is so fast. It is so fast... G5x, the fastest GDDR5 memory in the world," Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during Pascal's launch event last Friday.

Micron said it tasked a specialized team of graphics memory engineers in Munich with designing GDDR5X. The end result is the culmination of thousands of hours of teamwork.

It had long been rumored that Nvidia might run with GDDR5X instead of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) or HBM2 for Pascal, and that's how it played out, at least initially. It's an easier process implementing GDDR5X than HBM/HBM2, and combined with the performance upgrade it offers over GDDR5, the decision probably wasn't all that difficult for Nvidia.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if AMD will also adopt GDDR5X for Polaris. A recent roadmap AMD shared specifically shows HBM2 with Vega, which will succeed Polaris in 2017. There's no memory label attached to Polaris on the roadmap, suggesting AMD will either go with GDDR5 or GDDR5X.

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