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Apr 26 2017

SK Hynix Announces GDDR6 Graphics Cards

South Korean memory specialist SK Hynix, whose products power hardware from Asus, Dell and IBM among others, claims to have a new 27 nm, 8 gigabit graphics chip ready for production that will start shipping in volumes early next year.

According to the official press release published last Sunday, it "operates with an I/O data rate of 16 Gbps (gigabit per second) per pin" and will be soldered onto a "forthcoming high-end graphics card" with 384 data links. The combination of high transfer rates per pin and high bit rates will allow for a total of 768 GB/s on a finished GDDR6 graphics card. The roadmap says mass production will start in the first half of 2018. Provided SK Hynix can live up to this promise, GDDR6 chips – which are supposed to run twice as fast as current GDDR5 models at a 10% lower operating voltage – would immediately make previous-generation GPUs such as NVIDIA's GeForce GTX1080 obsolete. Application scenarios for GDDR6 include 4K video, AI/Deep Learning, VR, and autonomous cars among others, so the company has all of the latest 'hot topics' covered.

There are, however, a few caveats to the marketing buzz. First of all, GDDR6 isn't standardized yet – trade association JEDEC, which oversees and maintains GDDR standards, is still working on the documents. Second, the press release claims that SK Hynix is working with a "core graphics chipset client" to prepare volume production, but doesn't name names, which gives way to speculations about who that client may be. Finally, the release stays pretty mum about details like exact release dates or pricing – of course, there are still at least six months left to cover these aspects, but given the new product's likely impact, it would be great to see the missing pieces of information at some point next fall.


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