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AI and ML applications to eat into GDDR6 supply, says report

by Mark Tyson on 1 August 2018, 14:01

Tags: Samsung (005935.KS), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), SK hynix

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PC enthusiasts have endured a number of difficulties over recent years and months. A particular upset for many has been the shortage of supply and thus prohibitive pricing of mid to high end graphics cards. We have just started to see the edge taken off this issue, with the dramatic fall in value of cryptocurrencies since the New Year, and the related glut of GPUs (especially Nvidia chips).

Now, a new report published by the EE Times suggests that there is going to be competition for GDDR6 memory from outside of the PC graphics card market. The journal asserts that "applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which need ultra-fast memories, have shorted gamers of their GDDR supply".

Tallying up competitive segments that are now looking at buying up GDDR RAM, rather than the slower DDR3 and DDR4 memory types, the EE Times name-checks the following:

  • Automotive
  • AR and VR hardware
  • 4K and 8K video processing
  • Data centre and networking applications
  • Crypto currency applications
  • And the aforementioned AI and ML tech

All the above computing segments/markets increasingly benefit form the fastest RAM they can get their hands on. Some applications would benefit even more from technologies like HBM too.

Luckily there are manufacturer plans in place to boost supplies of both GDDR and HBM memory types, and to go on and develop new, more efficient memory generations along the way. PC enthusiasts must hope that supplies can come online faster than other computing segments exert demand pressure, or we will again see graphics cards buoyed above MSRPs, rather than gradually declining after launch.

There are signs that the other costly problem currently facing those looking to build a PC, DDR4 DIMM pricing, is about to ease. Last week DigiTimes predicted that capacity ramps by current key manufacturers and new facilities opening in mainland China would create an oversupply of such memory in 2019.

HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

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Hopefully mass production volumes from Samsung and Micron can keep prices steady.

I think you have more chance of seeing a pink elephant.

BTW, what's the bet DDR4 prices won't drop as much since now they can say GDDR6 needs to be made. This is going to be like what happened to HDD pricing after the floods.
Same old story all the time, relying on the main players to help the consumers. It's never going to happen when they can carry on making high profits. We need to expect that memory prices are now higher forever, they may go up and down slightly but the threshold low price has now been risen with no going back. Every time the prices look set to fall, they will “innovate” to ensure that those who want the latest and greatest will always pay the extra premiums.
Any excuse. If anything, economies of scale should help to bring pricing down - in the past GDDR was almost exclusively used for GPUs which themselves were almost exclusively used for gaming. All in all a relatively small market for a niche memory standard. Now it's used in everything from GPUs to games consoles to networking hardware.
I think you have more chance of seeing a pink elephant.

Give me a PCR machine, 30 years and some DNA from some extremely funky sea creatures and I'll sort that for you.
Oh and frankly, sod AI driven cars. As far as I'm concerned at the moment all cars seem to do is swerve randomly around the road anyway so I'm pretty sure I could sort this with some BASIC code starting with “randomise timer”. No need for AI, it's all just chaos which will lead to my inevitable death anyway so why bother soaking up all the RAM for that?