The memory standards authority JEDEC published the official specification of ddr5 last summer. That means the tech industry can better prepare for the latest memory. Ddr5 is not the only new volatile memory, lpddr5, gddr6 and gddr6x are newcomers as well. Market analyst TrendForce has published a study about his expectations for the coming year.
It notes in a press release that 2021 will be a transition year. However, ddr5 integration for both AMD and Intel would be postponed to 2022, with which the two x86 designers will join the party a little later. AMD will switch to DDR5 with Zen 4 and presumably a new socket, according to internal slides, although we have now officially heard from AMD that Zen 4 will come in 2021. Intel will most likely switch with Sapphire Rapids, these server processors are expected to arrive in 2022. According to TrendForce, Alder Lake will also support it, this generation will come after Rocket Lake and therefore simultaneously with Sapphire Rapids.
For the mobile world there is lpddr5. Apple, MediaTek and Qualcomm are masters of this world, and the latter two supply nearly 70% of all smartphones worldwide with chips, according to TrendForce. TrendForce expects to ensure that the first chips will appear in products as early as the first quarter of 2021. Qualcomm has already unveiled the first chips with ddr5-2750 support.
Moreover, the price difference between lpddr4x and lpddr5 would have been reduced to 10%, which would be thanks to dram manufacturers. This will speed up the transition, and the market analyst thinks lpddr5 will take over market share from its predecessor more quickly than ddr5 will from ddr4. By the end of 2021, lpddr5 should represent 18.5% of the market.
The latest ‘newcomer’ is gddr6, although the first products based on this memory type have of course been on the market for a long time. Nvidia was the first to move with Turing, AMD already has gddr6 products on the market with the first Navi generation (the original RDNA architecture). Nvidia has now also developed gddr6x together with Micron. This standard may now also be used by other manufacturers (of video cards, for example), but there is no JEDEC specification for it. However, TrendForce does not say a word about gddr6x. Instead, it deals with gddr6.
Currently gddr6 already has a market share of 70%, and by the end of 2021 this should even be around 90%. AMD and Nvidia are both already extensively using gddr6 with their new products, and the market analyst writes that the high memory capacities of Big Navi (Navi 21) have a very positive impact on the speed of implementation. The new consoles also have gddr6, the high volume of chips these products have will also help. Gddr5 will probably only be used by most basic products, since the price of gddr6 will not be that high anymore.