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How Micron’s GDDR6X memory is the secret to unlocking 4K on Nvidia’s RTX 30 series cards

Even when consoles iterate with regular cadence, the PC hardware has found ways to stay ahead. This is usually due to innovations that change the way computer graphics work. This is currently happening with the next wave of GeForce RTX GPUs from Nvidia. The RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 use Micron’s new GDDR6X memory. This is a step up from traditional GDDR6 VRAM and could represent a generation leap in system bandwidth performance thanks to Micron’s PAM4 technology.

Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM4) is the name used to transmit 2 bits of data over a link instead of 1 bit. It’s a technical concept, but essentially this allows the system to call up from 4 possible states instead of 2 with each burst of information. With PAM4, Micron and Nvidia promise a significant increase in I / O data rates and bandwidth. GDDR6X is also more energy efficient. With 21

Gbit / s, GDDR6X consumes 15% less power per bit than GDDR6 with 14 Gbit / s.

According to Micron, the GPU with a data rate of 21 Gbit / s per pin of the GDDR6X has a total memory bandwidth of 936 GB / s when you combine all these pins and memory modules on an RTX 3090. That’s massive. For comparison: The memory bandwidth of the Xbox Series X is 560 GB / s and that of the PS5 is 448 GB / s.

Simply put, it means the GPU can pull a large amount of data from its memory instantly. And that will lead to better games.

“[Gamers] Benefit from higher system data rates, ”said Micron graphic director Ralf Ebert in a media presentation. “This increases the data transfer between the GPU and the memory interface. We believe we will enable 8K resolutions and get closer to real-time ray tracing. “

What it really means is that GPUs finally have enough bandwidth to handle 4K comfortably. In a world where even the $ 1,200 RTX 2080 Ti is struggling to get 60 frames per second at 4K, GDDR6X is critical to overcoming that barrier.

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