Its almost two years since NVIDIA launched their Kepler architecture and it is holding pretty strong even now. It was launched with GK104 core which was introduced in GeForce GTX 680 and then it was used in several cheaper cards as well. NVIDIA made several lower-end Kepler GPUs as well like the GK106 and GK107. Even after these two years, the GK104 hasn’t got a real successor. The GTX 700 series brought the GK110 chip which is basically a more refined and bigger version of the GK104 but its still based on the 28nm Kepler architecture. However, the aging GK104 finally expected to get a true successor this year in the form on GM204 which is based on 20nm Maxwell architecture. It’ll be introduced in the GeForce GTX 880. Quite a lot of details have surfaced about this new graphics card today. NVIDIA will also launch a more powerful GM210 core later down the road, which will replace the GK110, but that’s not expected until next year.
NVIDIA Maxwell GM104:
As of now, main focus of Maxwell related news will be the GM204 chip and the GTX 880 graphics card. The GM204 is a successor to the GK104 but in terms of price and performance, it’ll basically replace GK110 based card; exactly like GK104 replaced GF110. Therefore, the GTX 880 will launch at a price point similar to the launch price of GTX 780 Ti but it will be faster and more efficient. The Maxwell architecture will be based on TSMC’s 20nm manufacturing process which will possibly play a big role in bringing down the heat output and power consumption.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880:
The GeForce GTX 880 will be first card to carry the 20nm Maxwell architecture and it is expected to roll out this summer. As mentioned earlier, it’ll be based on GM204 core. It’ll carry 3200 CUDA cores, 200 TMUs and 32 ROPs. This translates into 5.7 TFLOPS single-precision floating point throughput. In terms of VRAM, it’ll have 4GB of GDDR5 memory spread across a 256-bit wide memory interface resulting in 238 GB/s memory bandwidth. The GTX 880 is expected to ship with 900 MHz core clock, 950 MHz boost clock and 7.4 GHz effective memory clock.
|GeForce GTX 880||GeForce GTX 780 Ti|
|Core Clock||900 MHz||875 MHz|
|Boost Clock||950 MHz||928 MHz|
|Power Connectors||6pin||8pin + 6pin|
|Launch Date||Summer, 2014||Nov 7, 2013|
Another interesting piece of information about the GTX 880 is that it is expected to have an on-board ARM core which will apparently help with more autonomous communication with the CPU. It’ll also cut down the drivers overhead. Furthermore, the GM210 based card, which is expected in 2015, will reportedly come with not one but three ARM cores.
That’s all good and pretty till now but there are some contradictions about the TDP of the graphics card. According to the report, the GTX 880 will have a single 6-pin power connector which, along with 75W from PCIe slot, is only good for up to 150W whereas the report claims the TDP to be 250W. We are not sure what going on here but it could be similar to the AMD Radeon R9 295X2. It has two 8-pin connectors which can only provide up to 375W of power whereas its official TDP is 500W.
Anyway, its still too early to say anything solid about a graphics card whose launch is still a few months ahead. A lot can change in this time.