Graphics cards may be in short supply but that is not stopping Samsung Electronics from pushing forward with the next generation of memory products. The South Korean giant has begun mass production of 16Gb GDDR6.
Samsung's new memory is built on a 10nm class process that allows for double the density of its previous generation 8Gb GDDR5 built on a 20nm process. Producing the 10nm memory also brings a 30 percent boost to manufacturing productivity due to the reduced process size.
Each pin on the chip is capable of 18 Gbps while the entire piece of memory can push through 72 GB/s. Another large improvement over the previous generation is a reduction in voltage. GDDR5 from Samsung runs at 1.55V compared to only 1.35V on new GDDR6 memory. Power consumption is reduced by approximately 35 percent as a result.
Having 18Gbps 16Gb GDDR6 memory provides significant advantages over HBM2 (which is currently running at 2.4Gbps on 8GB chips) although extra-wide memory bus widths can make up for lower memory speed. Virtual reality, 8K video processing and artificial intelligence applications can all greatly benefit from the increase in high-speed memory.
Consequently, certain cryptocurrencies that are memory-intensive to mine may also benefit but cost-to-performance ratios may prevent miners from scooping up available supplies.
In terms of real-world availability, there is no word from AMD or Nvidia about next generation graphics cards. Nvidia's Volta gaming GPUs or Ampere could appear at any time but don't expect GDDR6 to be available on budget-friendly cards. AMD's Navi could also appear in 2018 but there is a chance that more Vega cards could surface as well.