With different types of RAM and VRAM options available i.e GDDR5 vs GDDR5X vs GDDR6 vs GDDR6X HBM vs HBM2, Which one is the choose? on the market today, it’s not easy to pick one and use, isn’t it? But this guide will help you know how to choose the one that works best for you. 

Instead of jumping right into the versions of VRAM, let’s understand the difference between RAM and Video RAM.

RAM (Random Access Memory):

GDDR5 vs GDDR5X

RAM is a short data storage technology that helps the CPU access the data instantly. When you turn on your computer, the operating system(OS) stores the data in RAM. This data will be gone the next day or the minute you turn off your PC. Still, it is an important part of the system because of its quick data access to the CPU. It is connected to the motherboard, as DIMM slots, apart from the CPU, which is now named DDR4. Limited RAM leads to inconsistent frame rates and poor performance. On the flip side, excess RAM in the system is the wasted RAM in most cases. 

VRAM (Video Random Access Memory):

VRAM works for the same operation as RAM does, but with the graphics card of the system. This means that VRAM stores the data regarding the image memory of the game. It provides power to the video card. Plus, it is dual-ported. That is, the display can read the data from VRAM while the CPU is writing the next image data to the VRAM. Besides, It controls operations like shading, Vertex buffer, Index buffer, and texture.

More VRAM can provide more 2D and 3D images on the screen. But when VRAM is insufficient, the GPU flows the image data to RAM which affects the gaming negatively. Thus, there are many versions like GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6, GDDR6X, HBM, HBM2, which are developed to improve the abilities of VRAM. GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6, GDDR6X belongs to GDDR memory. HBM HBM2 supports HBM memory.

GDDR5 vs GDDR5X vs GDDR6 vs GDDR6X

GDDR5 (SGRAM double data rate type 5):

GDDR, also known as GDDR SDRAM, stands for Graphics Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. 

GDDR5 is most commonly used for the mid-range graphics card, and it is cost-effective.  It is the successor of GDDR3 and GDDR4, but also the oldest GDDR you’ll be using today.

It was first introduced in 2007 but started its mass production in 2008. For a decade, it served as the most popularly used VRAM for high-end games. Its available size ranges are 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB(currently). It supports a single 32-bit channel with one 32-bit data bus. Plus, it can transfer speeds up to 8Gbps and consumes a voltage of 1.5 volts.

Note:- Its transfer rate is 40-64 Gb/s.

Some of the graphic cards using GDDR5 memory are GTx 1060, GTx 1050 Ti, Radeon RX 460, etc.

GDDR5X (SGRAM Double Data Rate type 5X) Memory:

GDDR5X is the updated version of GDDR5, which was released in 2016. Initially, only Nvidia’s Pascal-based GPUs used this system, but later on, its sales began to rise. 

The additional package provided by GDDR5X increased its memory space to 16GB. its chip sizes are available in 4Gb, 6Gb, 8Gb, etc. It can achieve speeds in the range of 10-14 Gbps and takes a voltage of 1.35 volts. Unlike GDDR5, GDDR5X has one 32-bit channel, which can be split into 2 16-bit pseudo-channels. But, it isn’t flexible to operate though. 

Note:- Its transfer rate is 80-112Gb/s.

Some of the graphic cards using GDDR5X are Nvidia GTx 1080, Ge force GTx 1060, Nvidia GeForce GTx 1080 Ti, etc. 

GDDR6 Memory:

GDDR6 is the successor of both GDDR 5 and GDDR5X. It consumes 1.35V and transfers at a speed of 16Gbps. 

The architecture type of GDDR6 is different from GDDR5 and GDDR5X, which helps in improving its efficiency. In GDDR6, the single 32-bit channel is split into 2 separate 16-bit channels. Thus, providing its burst length as 16 and array prefetch as 2×32 bytes. This is beneficial because more channels help in good control over DRAM. Thus, helping to avoid large stables that occur due to page refreshments. 

Note:- Its transfer rate is 112-128Gb/s.

Some of the graphic cards using GDDR6 are Nvidia Titan RTX, RTX 2060 Super, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070, RTX 2060, Radeon RX 5500 XT, Radeon RX 5700, Radeon RX 570 XT, Radeon 5600 XT, etc. 

GDDR6X Memory:

Currently, GDDR 6x is the fastest graphics memory card with a data rate of 21Gbps. It can transfer the data up to 1Tbps. It is developed by Micron with low power consumption rates possible, high transfer speed, etc. It is now being used in RTX 30 series including RTX 3090 and RTX 3080. 

HBM Memory:

HBM, known as High Standard Memory, is used in systems that need high bandwidth for their gaming. Thus, it is mostly used in graphics-intensive gaming. 

Unlike GDDR, it comes with a cubic structure with stacked memory chips filling the cube. In HBM, these memory chips are stacked one over the other block. This makes HBM occupy less space and also, it can be placed near the GPU. Thus, helps in transferring the data much faster than a GDDR based system. 

The bandwidth of HBM depends on the stacks placed. The more stacks the cube has, the higher the bandwidth will be. Hence, HBM is also called stacked memory. 

So far, there are two types of HBM that were launched, and they are HBM and HBM2.

HBM:

One single HBM has 1024-bit memory, which is very much higher than a GDDR( usually has 392 bits). When the stacks are increased, the memory and bandwidth are also raised. For example, for 1024, we have a bandwidth of 128 Gb/s. But when stacks are increased to 4096-bit memory, the bandwidth is pushed to 512Gb/s. 

It was first introduced in the year 2015, but only a handful of devices feature HBM. With HBM2 only, it was known to become popular in the gaming realm. 

HBM2:

Like GDDR5X, the sequel to GDDR5, HBM2 is the sequel to HBM. Thus, it means that HBM2 outperforms HBM. 

The transfer rate of HBM is 2.0Gb/s, with a maximum capacity of 8GB. Its bandwidth is 256GB/s, which is double that of HBM’s bandwidth. Thus, it is mostly found in intense graphic cards as well as 3D-stacked DRAM chips. 

As mentioned above, it has twice the storage space and transfer rate of that of HBM’s, and it uses only 1.2v of power. Thus, it is the most effective in improving clock efficiency and speed. 

For now, you are aware of the specifications of each of the VRAM versions. But to make it further easier for you, we came up with some factors to consider before the purchase. 

Power Consumption:

When coming to power consumption, there is no doubt that HBM2 appears on top of the list. Even though GDDR6X gives the best in low power consumption, it can’t beat HBM2. 

So, if you want to purchase the GDDR version for your PC, go for GDDR6X. But in the HBM series, HBM2 is the best option you can always depend on. 

Note:- The VRAM undergoes overheating with higher Power consumption. So always look for an option with low power consumption. 

Price and Availability:

HBM has higher bandwidth, better power consumption, and low latency than all the GDR versions. But it isn’t cost-effective since it isn’t widely available in the market. Also, buying an HBM is a waste of money if your purpose is to use it only for gaming. It can serve better at workstations, for professional graphic designing softwares, etc

Now, coming to GDDR versions, we saw that GDDR6X came close to HBM2 in most of the features. Plus, you can get it at a decent price. It also has better bandwidth and transfer rates than both GDDR5 and GDDR5X. 

So, we suggest you consider the above factors while deciding about the budget. 

Performance:

Last but not the least, here comes the most important factor to consider – performance. The first thing that needs to be remembered is that performance isn’t related to VRAM. It depends upon the GPU architecture. 

However, performance can increase by increasing the VRAM based on your game constraints. If your game runs at higher bandwidth, then increasing the VRAM’s bandwidth will boost the performance of your game. But this method can be wasted if it is an ordinary game with minimum specs needed. 

Conclusion:

You can now notice that they all are unique in their own way. So, we cannot conclude that one is better than the other. All you can do is to check the one that suits you best and keep the points given in this guide while purchasing.