ARS Technica was on the phone with AMD CTO Joe Macri to discuss the new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) that will be present on the upcoming high-end Fiji cards. One of the things he clarified was the 4GB memory limitation, which some believe may not be enough to make the card future proof. AMD claims they don't see the 4GB as a limitation to performance as they made enhancements to how efficiently they use the frame buffer:
"You're not limited in this world to any number of stacks, but from a capacity point of view, this generation-one HBM, each DRAM is a two-gigabit DRAM, so yeah, if you have four stacks you're limited to four gigabytes. You could build things with more stacks, you could build things with less stacks. Capacity of the frame buffer is just one of our concerns. There are many things you can do to utilise that capacity better. So if you have four stacks you're limited to four [gigabytes], but we don't really view that as a performance limitation from an AMD perspective."
"If you actually look at frame buffers and how efficient they are and how efficient the drivers are at managing capacities across the resolutions, you'll find that there's a lot that can be done. We do not see 4GB as a limitation that would cause performance bottlenecks. We just need to do a better job managing the capacities. We were getting free capacity, because with [GDDR5] in order to get more bandwidth we needed to make the memory system wider, so the capacities were increasing. As engineers, we always focus on where the bottleneck is. If you're getting capacity, you don't put as much effort into better utilising that capacity. 4GB is more than sufficient. We've had to go do a little bit of investment in order to better utilise the frame buffer, but we're not really seeing a frame buffer capacity [problem]. You'll be blown away by how much [capacity] is wasted."