GDDR5 vs GDDR6 GPU: A Quick Comparison

In this post, I’m going to put GDDR5 and GDDR6 to the test. If you’re looking for a comparison of these two GPU variants, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’ll compare GDDR5 vs. GDDR6 in terms of:-

  • Speed
  • Efficiency
  • Memory
  • Benchmark performance
  • Overclocking- Compatibility
  • Cost
  • And more.

Let’s begin!




Introduced in 2008, GDDR5 (Graphics Double Data Rate 5) has a proven track record in the PC hardware world. It’s been a crucial component of some of the most popular graphics processing units (GPUs) in the past, such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon RX 580. Its architecture and performance capabilities made it an ideal choice for gamers and professionals alike, marking it as a defining component of previous-generation GPUs.


Introduced in 2018, GDDR6 is the successor to GDDR5, bringing a host of improvements. GDDR6’s architecture builds on the strengths of GDDR5 but pushes performance further. It features higher clock speeds, greater memory density, and better power efficiency. You’ll see it at work in high-end GPUs like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and Radeon RX 6800 XT, delivering impressive results in real-world applications.


1. Clock Speed

One of the most significant differences between GDDR5 and GDDR6 is clock speed. GDDR6 operates at higher clock speeds across the board, whether we’re talking base clock, boost clock, and thus effective clock speeds. This increase translates to higher data transfer rates and overall performance:

  • Base Clock Speed: GDDR5 typically has a base clock speed of around 1485 MHz, while GDDR6 starts at a higher base speed of 1650 MHz.
  • Boost Clock Speed: GDDR5 can boost up to 1665 MHz, whereas GDDR6 can reach boost speeds of up to 1770 MHz.

2. Memory Bus Width

The memory bus width is another critical factor. The memory bus acts as the channel through which data flows between the GPU and its memory. GDDR6 boasts a wider memory bus compared to GDDR5, allowing for more data transfer at once.

While GDDR5 typically features a 256-bit bus (though this can vary), GDDR6 ranges from 256-bit to 384-bit. This broader bus width, combined with increased processing speeds from 5.5 Gbit/s to 6.8 Gbit/s, leads to a total memory bandwidth of up to 218 GB/s.

Memory Density

High end GPU

Memory density is another area where GDDR6 outshines GDDR5. Higher VRAM density means that GPUs with GDDR6 can handle more complex tasks like for a gamer to battle out in the latest AAA title. This is also beneficial for professional applications like video editing, 3D rendering, and machine learning, where large data sets are the norm.

Impact on Gaming (What Benchmarks says)

Real-world performance tests further emphasize the advantages of GDDR6 over GDDR5. Gaming benchmarks, such as frame rates and load times, consistently show that GPUs with GDDR6 outperform their GDDR5 counterparts.

For instance, a comparison between the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with GDDR5 and its GDDR6 variant shows that the latter is about 6% faster. This might not seem like much on paper, but in the heat of a gaming session, those extra frames per second can make all the difference.

According to a detailed comparison by Tom’s Hardware, the GTX 1650 with GDDR6 memory demonstrates a notable performance improvement over its GDDR5 counterpart. The key differences are highlighted below:

  • Memory Bandwidth: The transition from GDDR5 to GDDR6 memory in the GTX 1650 results in a significant increase in memory bandwidth. The GDDR6 variant achieves a bandwidth of 192 GBps, which is a 50% enhancement over the 128 GBps provided by the GDDR5 model.
  • Clock Speeds: Despite a slight reduction in clock speeds, with the GDDR6 version exhibiting a 5% decrease in base clock and 2.7% reduction in boost clock, the overall performance impact remains positive.
  • Performance Uplift: Benchmarks indicate an average performance uplift ranging from 2% to 12.5% for the GDDR6 model, with a collective average increase of approximately 6.4% across various tests.
  • Power Efficiency: The GDDR6 version also shows an improvement in power efficiency, drawing slightly less power than the GDDR5 model.

Other Factors

Thermal Performance

Heat management is crucial in any GPU, and GDDR6 excels in this area as well. Despite having the same TDP (Thermal Design Power), GDDR6 models use approximately 9% less power than their GDDR5 counterparts.

This lower power consumption is due to GDDR6’s reduced voltage draw, making it a more energy-efficient choice. This efficiency translates to lower electricity bills and less heat generation, which is always a win-win.

This improved power efficiency helps keep systems cooler and reduces the risk of overheating and thermal throttling during heavy workloads.

Overclocking Potential

For enthusiasts looking to push their GPUs beyond stock settings, GDDR6 offers better overclocking potential. Its higher base clock speeds provide more headroom for enthusiasts to experiment.

For example, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 OC with GDDR6, despite having slightly reduced GPU clock frequencies compared to its GDDR5 counterpart, still benefits from the faster GDDR6 memory, which contributes to better overall performance.

Cost Considerations

Of course, all these benefits come at a cost. GPUs using GDDR6 tend to be more expensive than their GDDR5 counterparts. However, the performance gains and future-proofing provided by GDDR6 often justify the higher price tag. For those on a budget, GDDR5 remains a viable option, but if you can afford the upgrade, GDDR6 is the way to go.

As GDDR6 becomes more widely adopted, its cost is likely to come down. This has been the trend with previous generations of memory technology. While GDDR6 GPUs may be more expensive, they also offer better performance. This can make them more cost-effective in the long run, especially for users who need the extra bandwidth and speed.

Market trends also impact pricing. For instance, a report from early 2019 suggested that GDDR6 memory costs 70% more than GDDR5. However, this gap may have narrowed since then as GDDR6 has become more common.

GDDR5 vs GDDR6: Future-Proofing

When considering the longevity of your investment, GDDR6 offers better future-proofing. Due to its superior performance, efficiency, and ability to meet the demands of upcoming software and games, opting for a GPU with GDDR6 memory is the wiser choice.

If budget constraints are a concern and your need doesn’t demand best of gaming visuals, a GDDR5 GPU is suffice for most with decent graphics. While it may not offer the cutting-edge performance of GDDR6, it provides a cost-effective solution without the need for a complete PSU overhaul, yes, there are some power requirements for GDDR6 that you will need a new PSU.


A natural question to ask is how GDDR6 compares to the newer GDDR6X technology. GDDR6X has been introduced in NVIDIA’s latest generation of GPUs, such as the RTX 3080 and 3090.

GDDR6 and GDDR6X are nearly similar, but they have key differences in specifications, and price:


  • Encoding: GDDR6 uses NRZ (Non-Return to Zero) encoding, while GDDR6X uses PAM-4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation-4). PAM-4 allows GDDR6X to send two bits at a time (00, 01, 10, 11), doubling the data transfer rate per clock pulse compared to GDDR6.
  • Bandwidth: GDDR6 offers a per-pin bandwidth of up to 16 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s), whereas GDDR6X increases this to 19-21 GT/s due to PAM-4 encoding, enhancing the bandwidth by over 40%.


  • Cost: Generally, GDDR6X is slightly more expensive than GDDR6. This is due to the advanced technology and performance benefits it offers. However, the price difference can vary depending on the specific GPU model and market trends.

In summary, GDDR6X provides better performance than GDDR6 due to its advanced encoding technique and higher bandwidth, which contribute to faster data transfer rates and improved power efficiency.

However, these benefits come at a slightly higher cost. If you’re looking for top-tier performance and are willing to invest a bit more, GDDR6X would be the preferable choice. But weigh in other factors such as budget and specific use case before making a decision.

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