Micron Technology this week confirmed that it had begun mass production of GDDR5X memory. As revealed last week, the first graphics card to use the new type of graphics DRAM will be NVIDIA’s upcoming GeForce GTX 1080 graphics adapter powered by the company’s new high-performance GPU based on its Pascal architecture.

Micron’s first production GDDR5X chips (or, how NVIDIA calls them, G5X) will operate at 10 Gbps and will enable memory bandwidth of up to 320 GB/s for the GeForce GTX 1080, which is only a little less than the memory bandwidth of NVIDIA’s much wider memory bus equipped (and current-gen flagship)  GeForce GTX Titan X/980 Ti. NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 video cards are expected to hit the market on May 27, 2016, and presumably Micron has been helping NVIDIA stockpile memory chips for a launch for some time now.

NVIDIA GPU Specification Comparison
  GTX 1080 GTX 1070 GTX 980 Ti GTX 980 GTX 780
Memory Clock 10Gbps GDDR5X GDDR5 7Gbps
Memory Bus Width 256-bit ? 384-bit 256-bit 384-bit
VRAM 8 GB 8 GB 6 GB 4 GB 3 GB
VRAM Bandwidth 320 GB/s ? 336 GB/s 224 GB/s 288 GB/s
Est. VRAM Power Consumption ~20 W ? ~31.5 W ~20 W ?
TDP 180 W ? 250 W 165 W 250 W
GPU "GP104" "GP104" GM200 GM204 GK110
Manufacturing Process TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 05/27/2016 06/10/2016 05/31/2015 09/18/2014 05/23/2013

Earlier this year Micron began to sample GDDR5X chips rated to operate at 10 Gb/s, 11 Gb/s and 12 Gb/s in quad data rate (QDR) mode with 16n prefetch. However, it looks like NVIDIA decided to be conservative and only run the chips at the minimum frequency.

As reported, Micron’s first GDDR5X memory ICs (integrated circuits) feature 8 Gb (1 GB) capacity, sport 32-bit interface, use 1.35 V supply and I/O voltage as well as 1.8 V pump voltage (Vpp). The chips come in 190-ball BGA packages with 14×10 mm dimensions, so, they will take a little less space on graphics cards than GDDR5 ICs.

The announcement by Micron indicates that the company will be the only supplier of GDDR5X memory for NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics adapters, at least initially. Another important thing is that GDDR5X is real, it is mass produced now and it can indeed replace GDDR5 as a cost-efficient solution for gaming graphics cards. How affordable is GDDR5X? It should not be too expensive - particularly as it's designed as an alternative to more complex technologies such as HBM - but this early in the game it's definitely a premium product over tried and true (and widely available) GDDR5.

Source: Micron

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  • Eden-K121D - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    SO i Guess Polaris 10/11 will have GDDR5 as GDDR5X is out of reach of AMD
  • casperes1996 - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    I'm betting on one of them coming with HBM. The majority will probably be GDDR5, yeah. But I'm expecting one or two products to be announced with HBM. I have a feeling AMD wants to slowly increase the amount of products in their stack that uses the memory, and the more it is used (by AMD and others) the cheaper it'll become too.
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Not going to happen. Polaris isn't high-end. HBM will not be coming until Vega late this year/early next year. Then Navi follows that up with a next generation memory. We know this because AMD has told us.
  • bug77 - Friday, May 13, 2016 - link

    Do you honestly believe that if we're getting GDDR5X and HBM2 this year, we'll be getting a next generation memory in 2017 or 2018? That slide from AMD was probably referring to some improved HBM2 memory. HBM3 at best.
  • vladx - Friday, May 13, 2016 - link

    Next generation is probably HMC, or just HBM3 we all know how much AMD likes to hype everything.
  • StevoLincolnite - Saturday, May 14, 2016 - link

    I'm just the messenger. :P
    Just remember we had HBM 1 last year. HBM 2 this year, why is it hard to believe that we will get a next gen memory/HBM 3 in 2 years time?
  • slickr - Saturday, May 14, 2016 - link

    They can couple the higher end of it, one card with HBM1, you do understand they still have HBM1, so if they have some card that goes for around $280-330 they could probably make it with HBM1.

    Personally I hate that they are not going to use G5x for any of their Polaris, it feels like we are getting just half of the innovations that we should by having old GDDR5 memory. I mean its not like 10 or 11 gbps are going to make much difference from 7gbps but lower end gpu with less shaders and processing units, its more often going to be bottlenecked by the core, but it would have been still nice to have g5x where in some cases the memory would be important, especially the more expensive $200+ parts.
  • BurntMyBacon - Friday, May 13, 2016 - link

    It'll probably be a Vega chip with HBM. Rumor has it that there are two version of (Vega 10/Vega 11). There seems to be enough space in the lineup for two chips, so the rumor at least makes sense. I've got no idea how accurate the naming might be, but given no solid information, I'll use these references for now. If the rumors are ture, it is possible that Vega 10 will be designed for HBM and Vega 11 will use GDDR5X (which would jive with casperes1996's assertion, though not with Polaris).

    The question on my mind is whether or not the Polaris memory controller is designed to use GDDR5X as an option. Contrary to Eden's assertion, GDDR5X is not out of reach for AMD. Micron said that they are the only supplier for the GTX1080. They never said that they weren't making any for other cards or other manufacturers. Furthermore, there are several other memory manufacturers on the market that are working on their own GDDR5X and we have no idea how close they are to mass production. It is interesting that AMD announced first, had a working silicon demonstration first, and yet they will reach market second. It's possible that something other than the silicon is holding them up. Perhaps they picked the wrong memory manufacturer to partner with.
  • Kalelovil - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Polaris 10 is only 2/3rds the size of GP104. The fastest Polaris 10 card will probably be slightly slower than the GTX 1070, which makes do with GDDR5.
  • dragonsqrrl - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Yes, but you have to remember that AMD has traditionally required far higher memory bandwidth to achieve that level of performance. I suspect this will change with Polaris, but I still wouldn't be surprised to see GDDR5X on the higher-end Polaris 10 based card.

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