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What just happened? Micron announced this week that it will launch its first GDDR7 memory chips in the first half of 2024. GDDR7 is expected to offer much higher performance than GDDR6X and should find its way into next-generation graphics cards from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel.
Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said the new products will be built on the company’s 1ß (1-beta) DRAM process node introduced last year. According to Micron’s announcement at the time, the new node will not only reduce DRAM manufacturing costs, but also improve efficiency and performance. The company also revealed that 1ß will be its last DRAM production process, which will rely on deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography and will not use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) tools. Mehrotra did not provide further details on the GDDR7 SGRAM standard or the devices that will use the new technology. However, Samsung and Cadence have each revealed some details about GDDR7 over the past year. According to the former, GDDR7 data rates could reach a whopping 36 GT/s, which would be significantly higher than the 22-23 GT/s offered by GDDR6X. The increased speed is expected to be one of the main attractions of GDDR7, especially when it comes to high-end graphics cards. Samsung teased the development of GDDR7 last year, saying it would bring new capabilities to the data center, HPC, mobile, gaming and automotive markets.
Earlier this year, Cadence also revealed some details about GDDR7. According to the company, the new memory technology will use PAM3 signaling and NRZ. Compared with the latter, the former provides a more efficient data transfer rate per cycle, although it only transfers 1.5 bits of data per clock edge, while NRZ transfers 2 bits of data. It’s worth noting that the new encoding scheme in GDDR7 means it will require new memory controllers and graphics processors for widespread adoption. So while the early 2024 timeline for GDDR7 is certainly exciting, it may take some time for the technology to be available in commercial products. It’s impossible to guess exactly when GDDR7 devices will be commercially available, but speculation online suggests that it could be at least late 2024, or more likely, sometime in 2025, when we’ll start seeing these devices hit the market.