GDDR5 vs GDDR6 | Which is better?

Graphics play a critical role irrespective of whether you use a laptop or a smartphone. While enabling users to see images on the screen, graphics use memory.

In the absence of a dedicated graphics memory, it uses system memory and slows down its processing power. It can affect graphics-intensive activities like gaming, photo, and video editing, etc. Hence, the need for distinct graphics memory.

Generally, the most widely used graphics memory is GDDR5. It is available in almost all medium-range and high-end graphics cards. However, you have an advanced version, GDDR6, available on the market. Let us understand the difference between GDDR5 and GDDR6.

Before we discuss the differences, let us check out both these graphics card memory features individually.

GDDR5

GDDR5 is one of the best low latency RAM among the graphics cards in use today. Compared to the earlier generation GDDR3 and GDDR4, GDDR5 is streets ahead in almost all parameters.

Samsung GDDR5

GDDR5 has replaced the earlier versions in almost all devices. You still have GDDR3 in some of the entry-level appliances, whereas GDDR4 is virtually non-existent today.

Almost all graphics card manufacturers, including NVidia and AMD, use GDDR5 memory. Some of the best examples are NVidia GeForce GTX 1060, NVidia GeForce GTX 1070, and AMD RX 580. However, GDDR5 is still one of the fastest among graphics card memory.

Other factors that make GDDR5 a good option are its high bandwidth memory performance and low power consumption. GDDR5 can offer speeds up to 8 Gbps. GDDR5 graphics cards, manufactured by Samsung, Hynix, Micron, or ELPIDA, are available in multiple sizes ranging from 512MB to 8GB.

GDDR5 has an advanced version in GDDR5X. It has high SGRAM and bandwidth, ideal for graphics cards employed in high-performance servers and other advanced graphics-intensive activities. In addition, GDDR5X offers high transfer speeds ranging between 10 and 14 Gbps.

GDDR6

Samsung announced the development of GDDR6 as GDDR5X’s successor way back in 2016. They also announced that the initial products would be 16 Gbps 1.35V chips. However, while Samsung began mass production of 16GB GDDR6 chips with transfer speeds up to 18 Gbps in January 2018, Micron started its mass production of 8GB chips in June 2018. Simultaneously, Hynix also commenced its production cycle of 8GB chips with transfer speeds of 14 Gbps in February 2018.

Samsung 16GB GDDR6 chips
Samsung’s GDDR6 packs in 16Gb graphics DRAM

NVidia announced its first graphics cards using GDDR6, the GeForce RTX 2080Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070, in August 2018. Subsequently, it released RTX 2060 in January 2019 and GTX 1660 Ti with GDDR6 SDRAM in February 2019. Similarly, AMD announced that it would officially release Radeon RX 5700, 5700 XT, and the 5700 XT 50th anniversary edition with 8GB GDDR6 in June 2019.

Thus, you can see that GDDR6 is an improved version of both GDDR5 and GDDR5X. With the power consumption calculated at 1.35W, the memory card can process transfer speeds up to 16 Gbps. In addition, it supports a bandwidth of up to 192 Gb per second.

Here is the comparison chart for GDDR5, GDDR5X, and GDDR6 that should simplify things a lot.

ParametersGDDR5GDDR5XGDDR6
Power ConsumptionHigher than GDDR6Higher than GDDR6Low compared to GDDR5/5X
ManufacturerSamsung, Micron, Hynix
Transfer Speeds8 Gbps10 to 12 Gbps14 to 16 Gbps
AvailabilityFBGA190, 0.65 mm pitch, 14 x 10mmFBGA190, 0.65 mm pitch, 14 x 10mmFBGA180, 0.75mm pitch, 14 x 12mm
I/O ConfigurationX16X32X8/X16
Channel CountOneOneTwo
Power drawn1.5V1.5V1.3V
Available sizes512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB8GB and 16GB

With the comparison between the general specifications of GDDR5 and GDDR6 showing the latter as an advanced version, let us now compare the specifications of GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with GDDR5 and GDDR6 memory. It will help us understand the difference between two different memory standards on the same graphics card.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 can be found with 4GB GDDR5 or 4GB GDDR6 memory configurations
ParametersGTX 1650 GDDR5GTX 1650 GDDR6
GPU ChipTU117TU117
GPU ArchitectureTuringTuring
Base/Boost Clock1485MHz/1665MHz1410MHz/1590MHz
CUDA Cores896896
Memory SizeGDDR5 4GBGDDR6 4GB
Memory Interface128-bit128-bit
Memory Speed8 Gbps12 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth128 GB/s192 GB/s
Bust Interface128-bit128-bit
DirectX1212
OpenGL4.64.6
Vulkan APIYesYes
SLI ReadyNANA
G-Sync/FreeSyncYesYes
Power Consumption75W75W
Recommended PSU300W300W

This comparison shows a realistic picture of the GDDR5 and GDDR6 memory. As a result, one can deduce the following.

  • GDDR5 has a higher GPU clock speed compared to GDDR6. GPU clock speed indicates how fast its cores are. Cores are responsible for rendering graphics to the screen. Thus, a higher GPU clock speed translates into faster processing. The difference between GDDR5 and GDDR6 is marginal in this case.
  • Though the VRAM in both the cards is the same at 4GB, the memory speed and bandwidth in the GDDR6 version are better. GDDR6 runs at a faster 12 Gbps speed while offering a higher memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s. Thus, GDDR6 displays 50% faster memory and offers 50% higher bandwidth than GDDR5.

Otherwise, there is little difference in the specifications, performance levels, and power consumption between the two variants. The GTX 1650 is one of the most popular graphics cards you find in budget gaming laptops.

We have discussed the technical specifications and differences between GDDR5 and GDDR6. Here is a live comparison between GDDR5 and GDDR6 in the GTX 1650 graphics card tested in nine games.

GamesAverage FPS GTX 1650 GDDR5Average FPS GTX 1650 GDDR6
Battlefield V4648
Assassin Creed Odyssey4245
Forza Horizon 46568
PUBG5962
Metro Exodus3941
Hitman 26367
Control3436
Kingdom Come Deliverance4648
Red Dead Redemption 23739

If you compare the average FPS performance of each game, you will find that GDDR6 displays better frame rates in all the games. Hence, playing on a laptop with the GTX 1650 graphics card with GDDR6 memory is a better experience because there is less lag. It gives you the edge over your competitor playing on a laptop equipped with GTX 1650 and GDDR5 memory.

Final Words

GDDR5 is being phased out gradually, and all graphics cards will come equipped with GDDR6 memory. The higher memory speed and bandwidth are distinct advantages. In addition, the better FPS performance of GDDR6 memory is a positive factor that can enhance your gaming experiences. Till the time you get a better memory, GDDR6 is the standard today.

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