Samsung is cranking out GDDR6 memory for next-generation graphics cards

Samsung announced that it has started mass producing the industry's first 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory, which will find its way into next-generation graphics cards and various other products.

"Beginning with this early production of the industry’s first 16Gb GDDR6, we will offer a comprehensive graphics DRAM line-up, with the highest performance and densities, in a very timely manner," said Jinman Han, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics. "By introducing next-generation GDDR6 products, we will strengthen our presence in the gaming and graphics card markets and accommodate the growing need for advanced graphics memory in automotive and network systems."

Samsung is right where it thought it would be when it announced in 2016 that it was aiming to deliver GDDR6 memory in 2018.

The new graphics memory is built on a 10nm-class manufacturing process, emphasis on "class." That refers to anything between 10nm and 19nm. We can reasonably assume Samsung is not at 10nm here, or else it wouldn't bother making the distinction.

In any event, Samsung's GDDR6 offers a 35 percent energy reduction compared to GDDR5, along with a 30 percent manufacturing productivity gain. More importantly to gamers, GDDR5 delivers a more than two-fold increase in speed over 8Gb GDDR5 RAM, with speeds hitting up to 72 gigabytes per second (GB/s). 

The jump in performance will give AMD and Nvidia something to think about when they starting producing next-generation graphics cards—specifically, whether to outfit their cards with GDDR6, HBM2, or HBM3 memory.

"Samsung’s immediate production of GDDR6 will play a critical role in early launches of next-generation graphics cards and systems. With all of its improvements in density, performance and energy efficiency, the 16Gb GDDR6 will be widely used in rapidly growing fields such as 8K Ultra HD video processing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence," Samsung said.

Even so, Samsung is hedging its bets with more than one graphics memory solution. In addition to GDDR6, the company recently introduced 2.4Gbps 8GB HBM2.