AMD is ramping up GPU production – Memory is the limiting factor

AMD are ramping up GPU production - Memory is the limiting factor

AMD is ramping up GPU production – Memory is the limiting factor

One of the most significant market trends for PC gamers in 2018 was the huge increase in memory prices, with the growing demand for DDR4 memory outstripping supply. While manufacturers like Samsung and SK Hynix are increasing their production capacity, the construction of new DRAM and NAND facilities takes time, making it unlikely that today’s pricing situation will change until the second half of 2018. 

Why mention DDR4 memory in an article that is primarily about graphics cards? Well, the world’s leading suppliers of DDR4 DRAM also produce GDDR memory types, with most suppliers moving GDDR memory production time towards DDR4, creating a perfect storm of issues when the latest cryptocurrency boom hit. 

During their Q4 2018 investors call, AMD stated that they are ramping up the production of their GPUs, with Lisa Su (AMD’s CEO) reporting that memory is more of a production-limiting factor than their foundry partners, creating a situation where AMD cannot produce as many GPUs as they would like. 

Below is Lisa Su’s comment on this matter, stating that AMD will continue to work with their memory suppliers to maintain a supply GDDR and HBM memory. 

 

     Relative to just where we are in the market today, for sure the GPU channel is lower than we would like it to be, so we are ramping up our production. At this point we are not limited by silicon per se, so our foundry partners are supplying us, there are shortages in memory and I think that is true across the board, whether you are talking about GDDR5, or you’re talking about high bandwidth memory. We continue to work through that, with our memory partners and that will be certainly one of the key factors as we go through 2018.

To sum things up both GDDR5 and DDR4 memory are in short supply, creating a situation where manufacturing capacity cannot be quickly moved to either memory type, with the only option to increase production seemingly being the opening of new production facilities. This demand has driven up prices for both memory types, with the increased value of GDDR5 memory being partially to blame for the high cost of GPUs today. 

AMD are ramping up GPU production - Memory is the limiting factor

(Image from Anandtech)  

 
AMD is ramping up the production of their GPUs as much as they can, but sadly it looks like the matter is mostly out of their hands. Today GDDR5 memory is also used in most of today’s modern consoles, including the PS4, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, contributing to today’s high demand for GDDR5. 

You can join the discussion on memory supplies being a limiting factor for GPU production on the OC3D Forums.