We all know AMD is currently beavering away on its next generation of Navi graphics cards for launch in 2018, but the rumour mill has been fired into action in regards to AMD utilising the upcoming GDDR6 video memory standard in addition to HBM2 or, potentially, even the rumour HBM3.
A sleuth over on Reddit spotted a glaring truth on AMD employee Daehyun Jun’s LinkedIn profile. Daehyun Jun is a ‘principal member of technical staff at AMD’, and the experience he lists includes work on a new GDDR6 DRAM controller for AMD Radeon.
Up until this point, the assumption was that AMD would be putting all its eggs in the HBM2 basket for its follow-up to Radeon RX Vega. The cost of HBM2 is still prohibitively expensive compared to GDDR5 or GDDR5X memory though, so it looks increasingly likely that HBM2 will be reserved for AMD’s higher-end Navi graphics cards while GDDR6 will be used for the mainstream range, which would be equivalent to the Radeon RX 580 and below.
Availability of GDDR6 will commence in early 2018. Although, like HBM2, pricing is likely to be more expensive due to its status as an emerging technology. It would appear AMD is planning to reserve GDDR6 usage for use in mid and low-end graphics cards towards the back half of 2018, or perhaps even 2019, while its next enthusiast GPUs will utilise HBM2. All the big memory players, such as Samsung and SK Hynix, have confirmed they are mass manufacturing HBM2 in anticipation of graphics card rollouts in the first half of 2018.
GDDR6 memory is capable of running at a 16Gb/s data rate. The standard we can expect from GDDR6 is 16Gb/s across the board, compared to a peak of 10Gb/s with GDDR5 and 11Gb/s for the GDDR5X memory used on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. From a gaming point of view, GDDR6 is, on paper, going to be a cheaper and potentially even faster alternative to HBM2. As it currently stands, AMD may have bet on the wrong horse with HBM2, driving up the cost of its enthusiast GPUs. By all accounts, they’re still forging ahead with using HBM2 for Navi, but now they’re also open to using GDDR6 further down the line.