Samsung now grasps the flag in the race toward next-gen GDDR7 VRAM, having developed the industry's first GDDR7 module. With the development stage complete, we're just waiting to see which of the top memory manufacturers will push it to market first.
Samsung teased us with GDDR7 late last year, with the promise to improve performance over the current GDDR6 and GDDR6X. At the annual tech day, the prototype hit speeds of 36Gbps against its predecessor's initial 14Gbps.
Interestingly, Samsung's GDDR7 DRAM utilises something called PAM-3 (pulse-amplitude modulation) signalling. It's a revision in-between the PAM-2 and PAM-4 tech used in GDDR6 and GDDR6X respectively to translate data into non-binary waveforms. It's played a big part in improving the performance, and was expected to give GDDR7 a 25% boost to efficiency, and increasing speeds at any given bandwidth by half.
The final design didn't quite manage to hit the 36Gbps mark as intended, but maximum boost speeds of 32Gbps per pin are nothing to sniff at. Usually we see memory chips evolve over time to hit higher speeds, so give it time and we'll likely see the same here. The new chip features 1.4 times the bandwidth, a 20% improvement in power efficiency, and even a 70% reduction in thermal resistance over its predecessor.
Of course, the expected applications listed include the potential to "expand into future applications such as AI," but that doesn't mean gamers won't benefit from tech like this hitting markets. Especially when the numbers, while slightly less impressive than what was projected, are a massive improvement over GDDR6 and GDDR6X.
Samsung is aiming for the first GDDR7 products to hit in late 2023, whereas their main competitor Micron is expected to introduce next-gen G7 products in "the first half of calendar year 2024." We'll see if this little announcement inspires Micron to get a move on.