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Micron says GDDR5X will hit mass production this summer

by Mark Tyson on 10 February 2016, 11:31

Tags: Micron (NASDAQ:MU)

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Last October we first heard about Micron working on GDDR5X, an intermediary memory technology which can approximately double the memory bandwidth on offer from GDDR5 without any major change to graphics card design and pricing. At the time we thought it could be an elegant solution for the mass market and mid-range as the high-end graphics cards transition to HBM(2). In January JEDEC published the GDDR5X Graphics Memory Standard. Now Micron has boldly claimed that "GDDR5X has arrived" in a blog post about the technology and its possibilities.

Micron has seen a number of rumours posted about its upcoming GDDR5X technology and wants to straighten things out. First of all, concerning timeframes, the firm says that the "GDDR5X program is in full swing and first components have already completed manufacturing". Mass production will start this summer.

Going beyond that information, looking at performance, Micron is happy to announce that early components testing has shown "components are performing at data rates of more than 13Gb/s". Seeing 'first silicon' performing at near to expected specs was said to be a "pleasant surprise". First generation GDDR5X 8Gb (1GB) density chips manufactured on a 20-nanometer process performing so well looks good for future speed tweaks/bumps. Kristopher Kido, Director of Micron's global Graphics Memory Business, said he thinks that 14Gbps and potentially beyond are possible with GDDR5X. Current GDDR5 memory tops out at about 7Gbps in practice but it was thought to be possible to push it to 8Gbps.

Sampling of the first GDDR5X chips will start in spring. With its usage allowing graphics card makers to upgrade existing designs with minimal cost/fuss, the flexibility of frame buffer sizes on offer (by using GDDR5X in either x16 or x32), and improved power consumption, it looks like a worthwhile improvement - but we will have to wait to see what graphics cards/ranges use it.

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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I still question how useful this will be…..
Seems bizarre to me. Why spend the cash to develop a technology between two existing ones i.e less advanced than HBM, instead of just investing in HBM? I don't see enthusiasts wanting less than HBM and I can't see budget users shelling out for more than GDDR5. My 3gb R9 280x performs beautifully, if I was going to upgrade it would be to a HBM gpu.
If I'm reading the chart right, a single chip of GDDR5X - so 1GB of VRAM - can run a 64bit interface at 12Gbps (maybe up to 13, based on the rest of the article). The equivalent GDDR5 set up (running at 6Gbps) would be a 128bit interface and require 4 GDDR5 chips.

Tell a GPU manufacturer they can replace 4 GDDR5 chips with a single GDDR5X chip - meaning less chases, less soldering, and therefore smaller or less complex PCBs - with no drop in performance, and I can see them biting your hand off at the lower end of the market…
Surely this is going to make for some mad, cheap and fast low end cards.
intel HD Graphics with 1GB DDR5X inbuilt………wow!