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GDDR5 vs GDDR5X vs HBM vs HBM2 vs GDDR6 – Which Graphics Card Is Best For Gaming?

Which Graphics Card Is Best For Gaming?

RAM covering its importance and how it affects gameplay performance.

The CPU uses this RAM to store a ton of valuable data that it can access virtually instantly to ensure the system works smoothly and without any hiccups. Since the type of RAM is purchased separately, it’s only natural that it’s garnered more attention from us. There are many things you should keep in mind when shopping for system RAM.

The RAM used directly by the GPU, better known as VRAM. This Ram isn’t purchased separately. However, instead, it comes in the form of a memory chip located on the PCB board itself.

Nevertheless, there are more types of VRAM in use today than types of system Ram. Buying any severely outdated builds. Nowadays all pcs use DDR4 system RAM conversely VRAM is available in five flavours GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6, HBM and HBM2. These types of VRAM weren’t a discussion of their own if only to clear up any misunderstandings that prospective buyers may have about them when deciding Which Graphics Card Is Best For Gaming, they should buy? 

Which Graphics Card Is Best For Gaming?

GDDR

GDDR memory as it’s by far the most popular of the two groups of VRAMs we’ve listed. The abbreviation GDDRSD RAM stands for Graphics Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory. It’s quite a mouthful so thankfully users don’t need to commit it to memory knowing just the abbreviation is freely enough.

All in all, this is a type of DDRSD RAM just like the DDR4 used for system Ram but specialized for carrying out graphics related tasks in tandem with the GPU. This technology has gone through several iterations over the past but the ones still in widespread use today are GDDR5, GDDR5X and GDDR6. Read More Best 4K Monitor For Gaming

GDDR5 has been the dominant type of VRAM throughout the last decade. The majority of graphics cards made after the year 2010 have utilized this type of VRAM. In 2016 GDDR5 got an upgrade in the form of the modified GDDR5X, which allowed for far higher bandwidth. Despite its technical superiority only a few Pascal-based GPUs ever got GDDR5X memory.

This is not likely to change either since – GDDR6 was released not too long after that. This latest bairam technology is the one that’s being implemented in most of Nvidia’s cheering based GPUs as well as in AMD’s rDNA GPUs. 

Now then what are the main differences between these three types of VRAM? 

It all comes down to two things speed and power efficiency. Newer technologies are both faster and more power-efficient than their predecessors. GDDR5 has a transfer speed of around 40 to 64 GB/s. GDDR5X is almost twice as quick with velocities between 80 and 112 GB/s. Finally, there is GDDR6 which pushes the envelope a bit further with its 100,12,228 GB/s.

But as we’ve said a thousand times before on paper specifications don’t mean anything. Looking at the on-screen specs GDDR6 is more than twice as fast as GDDR5 which sounds incredible but doesn’t make that much of a difference as far as gameplay performance is concerned.

Now, this would typically be not easy to benchmark since VRAM is built-in and cannot be changed or replaced. Luckily NVIDIA has recently started equipping the GTX 1650 GPU with the GDDR6 memory as opposed to the GDDR5 mind that it initially got at the time of its release.

This means that we’re able to test out a single GPU that’s running on both GDDR5 and GDDR6. And the results are underwhelming. The GTX 1650 was an incredibly disappointing GPU at the time of its release and while the new VRAM does give it a slight FPS boost that’s all it is a small FPS boost.

It varies from game to game, but it generally hovers around five additional frames per second sometimes it’s more sometimes it’s less but never by a lot. Granted even a slightly increased FPS count is better than no FPS increase whatsoever but the point here was to show that on-screen specifications can be very misleading. Read More Best SSD for Gaming

The GPUs processing power is responsible for the performance discrepancies we see among various models. The type of VRAM only complements this slightly. Thankfully this isn’t a massive issue since VRAM is built into the graphics card and cannot be sold independently and since all graphics cards will be using GDDR6 moving forward, this isn’t something that’ll ever be relevant.

Barring any individual cases like what’s happened with the GTX 1650. If that weren’t the case, you now know that the type of VRAM does not affect the FPS in any significant way. A GTX 1650 will never outperform last-gen high-end graphics cards GDDR6 or no GDDR6. 

VRAM

HBM

Our assumption when making this video was that most of you have at least heard of DDR or GDDR Ram since it’s unequivocally the most common type of RAM used with gaming pcs. However, there is another type of VRAM out there that’s based on a wholly different technology HBM.

This abbreviation stands for High Bandwidth Memory. These three words should be enough to explain HBM whole shtick bits got a higher bandwidth. HBM takes up less space on the PCB uses less power and provides more bandwidth.

This is all achieved by stacking multiple DRAM dies on top of each other on the PCB up to 8 dies can be stacked this way. The first thing you’ll notice is that HBM memory has an enormous memory bus starting at a 1024 bits per stack.

The more stacks there are, the wider the memory bus will be. Most HBM equipped GPUs that have been released so far to have either a 2048-bit or a 4096-spit memory bus. This puts even the RTX 28 et is 352 bad memory bus to shame, and most GDD is equipped GPUs go much lower than that with many featuring only a 128-bit bus.

And what about the bandwidth we’ve already mentioned. HBM starts at 128 GB/s, and HBM2 takes this all the way up to 256 GB/s HBM2E features a whopping 460 GB/s of bandwidth.

We haven’t mentioned HMB2E until now because there are as of yet no GPUs that utilize this new technology. Still, it’s nothing if not effective for eliciting that a factor and even though in practice the actual bandwidth varies from GPU to GPU HBM can reach insane Heights. 

Now only one question remains how does all of this impact gaming?

And once again, the answer is that it doesn’t. Raw hardware power is great, and all but game developers want to make their games playable. Naturally, this means that they optimize their games to be playable on mainstream hardware and since there’s nothing mainstream about a bandwidth this high most of its potential simply goes unused.

For example, in a benchmark pitting the NVIDIA Titan V that uses HBM to memory and the NVIDIA Titan RTX, they use HDDR6. The Titan Archie X pulled ahead by about 5 to 10 FPS in most games. Read More The Best RAM for Gaming

Meanwhile, the Titan VI performed the GDDR5X Titan XP by about the same margin. The only thing is the Titan V is the most expensive graphics card of the three even though it’s not the most recent coming in at $3,000. For reference, the Titan RTX cost $2,500, and the Titan XP costs $1,200.

It’s important to point out that the type of memory used is not the only difference between these three graphics cards. Once again, the performance discrepancies can mostly be attributed to the advancements in GPU architectures.

Unfortunately, there was no GTX 1650 situation where one GPU was offered in two VRAM variety, so we’ll just have to make do with this. If games were optimized to take full advantage of this much bandwidth the results would tell a different story, but they’re not, and they won’t be.

So, if you need a PC strictly for gaming, it’s best to stick to standard GDDR memory as it’s much more cost-efficient HBM memory is best used in workstations and with memory-intensive software.

Conclusion

GDDR6 is the fastest type of specialized GDDR memory that all the newest gaming GPUs use.

It offers twice the bandwidth of GDDR5, but this doesn’t impact in-game performance as much as you think. You certainly won’t get twice as many frames per second far from it actually.

As for HBM memory, it has a much higher bandwidth, but the benefits this has on actual gameplay are very limited. Add to this the higher manufacturing cost, and it becomes clear that this is not a memory type intended for gamers.

As we’ve said, the choice of which type of VRAM to pick isn’t really a problem that plagues PC builders since there is usually no choice to be made.

VRAM is built-in, and we have no say in that matter but if you’ve ever been curious about how the new GDDR6 memory stacks up against GDDR5 or GDDR5X how significant the generational leaps between them are and whether HBM is worth it.         

GDDR5 vs GDDR5X vs HBM vs HBM2 vs GDDR6 - Which Graphics Card Is Best For Gaming?
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