In a surprisingly early revelation, Samsung has confirmed their plans to produce GDDR6 memory. The announcement was made as a part of Samsung’s pre-CES marketing campaign and does not disclose any dates or timeframes. Though it is worth noting that with speeds up to 16Gbps, Samsung's chips are the fastest GDDR6 chips announced to date.

Last week Samsung issued a press release covering its products that had been recognized as CES 2018 Innovation Awards winners. Among other things, Samsung mentioned a number of unreleased products, including the Exynos 9 Series 9810 SoC for the next Galaxy smarphone, GDDR6 memory, as well as the Gear IconX (2018) headphones. Though with a focus on the awards themselves, Samsung has released little in the way of information on the products receiving awards. And while it is clear why Samsung would decide to withhold  details about upcoming products (competition, the company does not want to spoil the actual launch, etc.), it is noteworthy that CEA does not require participating products to be mass-produced, or at least have a clear commercial availability timeframe.

GDDR6 is a memory standard that is set to be supported by all three leading DRAM manufacturers, so Samsung's participation has been expected. Less expected was any kind of announcement or reveal before the memory is shipping, as Samsung is notoriously tight-lipped about forthcoming memory products. Consequently and unfortunately, the announcement itself contains little details about the ICs themselves as well as the whole stack of GDDR6 products that Samsung is going to offer. What we do know is that they will feature data transfer rates of up to 16 Gbps at 1.35 V.

Formally Announced GDDR6 Plans by DRAM Makers
  Micron Samsung SK Hynix
Capacity 8 Gb 16 Gb? 8 Gb
Data Rate Over 12 Gbps 16 Gbps 12 Gbps, 14 Gbps
Voltage unknown 1.35 V 1.35 V
Process Technology 16 nm 18 nm (?) unknown
Availability Timeframe Early 2018 unknown Early 2018

Ahead of full scale production, one of the big questions on our end is which process and fab(s) Samsung will be using for this cutting-edge memory, especially with the ongoing DRAM shortage. A natural suspect would be Samsung’s 18 nm fabrication process for DRAMs, but the South Korean giant has not confirmed it.

Meanwhile, it's interesting to note that while the planned capacity of Samsung's new chips wasn't mentioned in the body of their announcement itself, it was in the title. Assuming this isn't a typo on Samsung's part, it looks like the company intends to produce 16 Gb chips. Notably this is twice the capacity of their current GDDR5 chips, but also twice the capacity of Micron and SK Hynix's previously announced GDDR6 memory. Which doesn't mean that Samsung will be offering 16 Gb chips right off the bat, but for gamers looking for cards with more than 8GB of VRAM, this could prove an interesting development.

Otherwise, it's worth noting that while Samsung's data rate goals here are welcomely aggressive, AMD and NVIDIA don't always run new-generation memory at its maximum rated speed, often due to needing to nail down their memory controllers and firmwares. So the availability of 16Gbps chips does not necessarily mean that next year’s graphics cards will use Samsung's memory at its full speed.

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Source: Samsung

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  • voicequal - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Likely not the latency but rather the prefetch. Ethash uses 128B random memory accesses. Prefetch was doubled between GDDR5 and GDDR5X, which returns twice the data for a given address request. (source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9883/gddr5x-standard... This can waste bandwidth for small random memory accesses, but it's fine for the large accesses for which most GPUs are likely tuned. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Thanks, that makes sense. So if they could make good use of 256 bit transfers, GDDR5X and GDDR6 would perform well again. Reply
  • HighTech4US - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Quote: Given the transfer rates, it is reasonable to guess that we are dealing with 8 Gb chips – especially since Micron and Hynix have already announced their own 8Gb chips – but we do not know this for sure.

    Really!! You are unsure. The press release clearly states "Samsung 16Gb GDDR6 Memory"

    https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-honored-fo...
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    It's so obvious that I wonder if Samsung updated the PR between when Anton wrote this and now. Really hard to explain him missing it otherwise... Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    ... nope. I found a copy from the 10th on the wayback machine. Said 16Gb there too. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    No, it said 16Gb before. I think it's a typo and they meant 16Gbps since the article proceeds to talk extensively about the data rate and later even mentions 8Gb capacity. Reply
  • HighTech4US - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    No it is not a type it is a 16Gb chip running at 16Gbps. Reply
  • Bates123 - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    What is does "pre-announce" mean? Either you announce or not... Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    It's not even close to being ready.

    This is a proof of concept to get people hyped.

    Expect 12-14 Gbps GDDR6 in 2018 and 16 Gbps stuff in 2-3 years.
    Reply
  • PerterLustig - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    They announce something (RAM) for something not yet announced (next-gen graphic cards), so they PRE announce it.

    Kinda tricky but you will get the point.
    Reply

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