Considering the fact that NVIDIA’s Pascal hit the GeForce scene nearly two years ago, it’s impressive that we know so little about its follow-up at this point. When Volta launched, and resulted in the Tesla V100, it seemed likely that the architecture would naturally gravitate towards the GeForce side. Of course, that hasn’t happened, and it’s becoming clearer that it’s never happening.
There are a couple of things to note here. The first is the fact that NVIDIA has denied Volta for gaming for some time, but that never left out the potential of a “Volta Refresh”, which would get rid of the Tensor Cores GeForce cards don’t need. In December, that seemed unlikely, too, as the codename ‘Ampere’ hit the web, touted as NVIDIA’s post-Pascal GeForce architecture.
GTX 1080 Ti could be replaced with a GDDR6-infused GTX 2080
Adding fuel to this fire is German tech site 3DCenter, which claims that NVIDIA has already ceased production on GP102 (the big Pascal guns), and that GA104 will begin production sometime this month. As it stands, the plan is to launch on April 12.
The rumor continues: NVIDIA could announce GeForce 2000 at GTC, which takes place at the end of March. The first cards out-of-the-gate would be the GTX 2070 and 2080, names that remain unconfirmed by NVIDIA, and will probably remain so until just before the launch. I kind of like this approach, but it sure does leave the door wide open for speculation.
As someone with absolutely no insider information, I feel like a GeForce launch on April 12 is not going to happen. Ampere-powered Quadro could happen, as April 12, again, is less than two weeks after GTC. That gives NVIDIA enough time to announce the “A” series and its SKUs, get cards in reviewer hands, and have reviews up for launch.
This all assumes that Volta was in fact never meant to be for any products outside of the Tesla and TITAN series. It still feels a bit odd to see a major architecture like Volta be used for just a handful of products, but HBM2 costs and Tensor Cores limited its reach to begin with.
One thing that does bolster this rumor is the fact that SK Hynix only just the other day announced that it’s now shipping its GDDR6. That could mean a tentative GTX 2080 may be equipped with 12GB of 14Gbps memory. That sounds kind of yummy, but I think like most people, I just want to hear more about Ampere in general. Watts a guy gotta do?
Februrary 13 Addendum: It appears that next-gen GeForce may not be called Ampere, after all, but instead ‘Turing’.