GPU shopping can get confusing, especially because there are two types of ‘current gen’ memory (VRAM): GDDR6 and GDDR6X. Is one better than the other, or is it just marketing?
Well it turns out that GDDR6X definitely is better than GDDR6, but not by a massive amount. Plus only NVIDIA sell GDDR6X cards after an exclusive deal with Micron: AMD have stuck with GDDR6 only.
While this might sound like a bad thing for AMD (and hence us gamers), GDDR6 is still perfectly fine in 2024 and beyond. I actually prefer my AMD GDDR6 GPU (the RX 6700 XT) because it comes with 12 gigs of VRAM. If I went with NVIDIA, I would have been stuck to 8GB of GDDR6X VRAM – and then regularly hit upon bottlenecks when video editing.
I dive into everything you need to know about GDDR6 vs GDDR6X in this video:
The individual video sections are:
- 0:00 – Intro
- 0:22 – GDDR6 or GDDR6X?!
- 1:10 – AMD Don’t Offer GDDR6X
- 2:06 – NVIDIA Don’t Give Enough VRAM
- 3:14 – Should You Wait For GDDR7?
- 3:44 – Wrapping Up
If you prefer text over video, please read on for the guide/transcript version of this video.
Video Guide And Transcript
Hey everyone, graphics cards use a slightly different type of memory (or VRAM) to the rest of the PC. The latest version of GPU memory is known as GDDR6 and while GDDR7 is due at SOME POINT next year, it’ll be fairly expensive and in short supply – meaning that 99% of people will carry on using GDDR6 cards throughout 2024 at the very least.
BUT, if you’ve gone GPU shopping recently, you might have noticed that there are two types of “6” VRAM – GDDR6 and GDDR6X. So what gives? Which is better – and more importantly, which type should YOU buy?
GDDR6 or GDDR6X?!
Well, GDDR6X is TECHNICALLY better. In theory it offers up to 15% better performance. But in REALITY, many detailed benchmarks show only a 5 to 10% real world improvement when gaming. Case in point, the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti comes with both VRAM types. The X variant IS faster – but only by 7 to 10%:
And the power usage of this card is up to 10% higher too – so it’s not like GDDR6X memory has MAGICALLY increased performance. You’ll be paying more for the card itself, but ALSO in higher electricity costs, too.
AMD Don’t Offer GDDR6X
Now, if you don’t mind this higher cost then GDDR6X MIGHT be the best option for you. Unless you like AMD. AMD do NOT offer GDDR6X memory on any of their cards:
They have stuck to the slightly older GDDR6 standard. There’s two main reasons why they have done this: firstly, so that they could offer more VRAM to their customers. And secondly, to try and limit the price of their cards a bit – GDDR6X is a bit more expensive to produce.
These two points kinda go hand in hand though, and what you WILL notice is that AMD’s cards tend to offer more VRAM than NVIDIA’s equivalent card. For example, the NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti offers just 8 gig of GDDR6X VRAM – whereas the cheaper AMD RX 6700 XT offers 12 gigs of ‘standard’ GDDR6 VRAM. But which is better?
Well a really useful video by GamesOracle compares these two cards in LOADS of games, and the NVIDIA card is usually SLIGHTLY faster than the AMD one:
NVIDIA Don’t Give Enough VRAM
So that’s a clear win for GDDR6X, right? Well, not really. NVIDIA has received LOTS of criticism in recent months because 8 gigs of VRAM is simply not enough anymore:
So many PC games nowadays are unoptimized lumps of CRAP *coughs* sorry. Uhm, what was I saying? Oh yes, many PC games nowadays require a LOT of VRAM. That’s totally what I meant to say. AMD’s choice to offer slightly slower GDDR6 memory but MORE of it, seems like a prescient decision nowdays.
If you want to play – y’know – all the latest games, then you might find an 8 gig NVIDIA card to be lacking nowadays – even if it is the ‘X’ variant:
In this case, buying a GDDR6 card with MORE VRAM like this one might be best – otherwise you could hit a VRAM bottleneck. In other words, buying a GDDR6 card in 2024 is perfectly fine. That’s actually exactly why I purchased my RX 6700 XT – I regularly go over 8 gigs of VRAM when video editing and gaming – so I’m REALLY glad that I opted for this 12 gig card:
I went over all my reasons for choosing this in another video, but what are your thoughts on this debate? Please let me know down in the comments.
Should You Wait For GDDR7?
And that’s pretty much all there is to it. Before finishing though, I wanted to answer one final question: should you wait for GDDR7 to come out before buying a new graphics card? So, I’m shooting this at the very end of 2023 and there’s not yet any CLEAR announcements about when GDDR7 cards will be released. We don’t know prices, exact release dates… or ANYTHING, really. Unless you’re happy to wait for 6 to 12 months and spend a LOT of money on a flashy, flagship GDDR7 card that will make your friends envious, then I would just buy a ‘current gen’ card.