Although we're barely into August, both AMD and NVIDIA are already making their first moves for their next generation products due at the end of this year and into next year. AMD has recently told investors that it intends to release products using 28nm GPUs this year, and now NVIDIA is telling developers something similar

At their GTC Workshop Japan event, NVIDIA's Senior VP of Research Chris Malachowsky let developers know that the company is expecting that Kepler "should start shipping by the end of the year." Kepler will be the basis of NVIDIA's next generation of GPUs, and like AMD's forthcoming products is expected to be fabricated on TSMC's 28nm process. Though the focus at an event like GTC is primarily on workstation (Quadro) and server (Tesla) products, historically NVIDIA has shipped consumer (GeForce) products first, so it's likely that we're looking at the first shipping date for NVIDIA's newest GeForce parts.

Of course it goes without saying that shipping a GPU is not the same as a video card being available for sale - NVIDIA has made their sale once they ship a GPU to a partner. So NVIDIA shipping Kepler GPUs this year does not necessarily mean that the resulting video cards will also be available this year.

As for performance, it shouldn't come as any surprise that NVIDIA is offering few details - never mind the fact that GTC isn't the venue for gaming performance. For GTC NVIDIA is talking about double precision performance, which looks like it will become a major race between AMD and NVIDIA for this upcoming generation. For Kepler NVIDIA is expecting "about 3x improvement in [double precision] performance per watt," which would be a combination of the die shrink and architectural changes

Update: NVIDIA sent Xbit a clarification that puts the brakes on things.

"Although we will have early silicon this year, Kepler-based products are actually scheduled to go into production in 2012. We wanted to clarify this so people wouldn’t expect product to be available this year,"

So technically Kepler GPUs would still ship to partners this year, but "early silicon" normally signifies GPUs that aren't quite production worthy yet. In any case finished video cards definitely won't be out this year given NVIDIA's latest statement.

Source: Xbit Labs

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  • arh2o - Thursday, August 4, 2011 - link

    Ryan, what's your take on Charlie's article?:

    "Every stepping you have to make adds about 6 weeks to the tally, more if there are tough bugs to quash. The norm is two spins, so about 7-8 months, and AMD is right there now, February to September. If Nvidia is as successful, mid-Q1 is the earliest you should be looking at for Kepler arrival."

    Mid Q1 at the earliest would be like March - I wonder if Nvidia is going to paper launch on December 31st then hold availability until Feb/March...
  • camylarde - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    if any date in 2011, then Dec 10 or so, to hamper xmas sales for AMD.
  • AmdInside - Monday, August 8, 2011 - link

    You are asking a respectable journalist such as Ryan to comment on a fake like Charlie?

    Anyways, I could be wrong but I can't think of any major tradeshows in December so we are probably looking at CES 2012 for a launch. Fine with me anyways since I'm always broke from November to January from Christmas shopping. Now what I'm wondering if ATI can get a new graphics card out in time for Battlefield 3 launch. My computer runs BF:BC2 smoothly so I hope BF3 is the same. Can't wait for the beta.

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