Intel often sets the standards in the PC world with such things as USB and HDMI, however, when it comes to graphics memory, it’s actually underdog AMD that does the standards setting. Their GDDR3 memory which launched in 2004 was very successful and is still in wide use on low end graphics cards and other applications. GDDR4 never really took off, because the advantages over GDDR3 weren’t great enough and now GDDR5 is the current standard and can bring more than 250GB/s of achievable bandwidth. Now, the technical standards to define the next generation GDDR6 memory are currently being worked out by AMD working with memory industry standards body, JEDEC. GDDR6 is expected to be launched in 2014 and should last beyond 2020. It’s generating a lot of interest from all the usual suspects such as NVIDIA, Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, CISCO and many others. It’s refreshing to see AMD clearly lead in something, isn’t it?
GDDR5 as a memory standard was designed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Single-Ended GDDR5 i.e. Dr. Jekyll was created to power the contemporary processors, while the Differential GDDR5 i.e. Mr. Hyde was designed to “murder Rambus and XDR”. Ultimately, the conventional S.E. GDDR5 took off better than expected and clocked higher than anyone hoped for. While the estimates for the top standard were set at 1.5GHz QDR, i.e. 6 “effective GHz” with overclocking, we got both AMD and NVIDIA actually shipping retail parts at 1.5GHz, with overclocks as high as 1.85GHz (7.4 “GHz”). This brought us to more than 250GB/s achiveable bandwidth, meaning that the purpose of Differential GDDR5 was lost.