Nvidias stronger, faster Pascal architecture expected to debut Friday

NVIDIA logoFollowing a string of rumours, teasers, and enterprise exposé, chip-maker Nvidia will unveil consumer graphics cards based on its new Pascal architecture during a live event in Austin on Friday, May 6 (early morning May 7 in the UK).

While Nvidia remains tight-lipped about what exactly will be shownmost rumours point towards two graphics cards, the GTX 1080 and 1070those with quiet weekend plans can tune into the event livestream above at 8pm CDT (6pm PDT, 9pm EDT, or 2am BST on Saturday morning).

For the uninitiated, Pascal is Nvidia's latest and greatest graphics architecture, which promises to be both faster and more power efficient than the previous-generation Maxwell architecture. Exact details on the consumer chips won't appear until Friday, but the P100 enterprise card Nvidia unveiled in April does shed some light on what consumer Pascal might look like.

Pascal will feature both architecture and manufacturing process upgrades, the latter being based on the TSMC 16nm FinFET node. This is a huge jump over the old 28nm process Nvidia and AMD have been using since 2012. While the P100 is based on a nearly-full-fat implementation of the Pascal architecture, the GTX 1080 and 1070 (if that's what they end up being called) are likely to be based on a slimmed down version of the chip with some features disabled.

The GP100 used in the P100 is said to push 10.6 teraflops of single precision (FP32) performance thanks to its high core clock of 1328MHz and a boost clock of 1480MHz, an increase in streaming multiprocessors (SMs), and second-generation of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2). The HBM2 promises transfer speeds of up to 720GB/s performance on its 4096-bit-wide bus.

HBM2 is unlikely to make its way into the GTX 1080 and 1070 thanks to its high cost and limited availability, however. Most rumours point towards Nvidia using 8GB of GDDR5X memory, a cheaper competitor to HBM2 that promises similar gains in performance. Supposed benchmarks of the new GTX 1080 have surfaced online, showing good if not groundbreaking performance gains over the GTX 980 Ti in 3DMark.

Ultimately, it'll come down to price. Nvidia isn't known for thrifty pricing, and all signs point to the GTX 1080 and 1070 being priced similarly to their predecessors at £429 ($549) and £259 ($329) respectively. Meanwhile, AMD is promising its upcoming graphics cards based on the new Polaris architecture will offer at least GTX 970/R9 290X performanceif not moreat a "mainstream" price point.

Ars will be reporting directly from Nvidia's Austin event, so keep an eye out for more Pascal info soon.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: NVIDIA, videocards

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