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Will NVIDIA Actually Launch the RTX 30 Series (Ampere) Cards at GTC 2020?

What, new Nvidia graphics cards? The Turing line still “feels” like the new hotness, but between AMD’s competitive midrange Navi offerings and the forthcoming Big Navi “2080 Ti-killer,” Nvidia’s needs to act fast to stay on its toes.

The rumor mill indicates that Ampere cards might reach us sooner than expected. WCCFTech received a tip-off from a source that claims Ampere will be announced during GTC 2020, a mere three months from now. But will we actually see GPUs based on the new Ampere design at GTC? The answer to that is a short, NO.

GTC is largely for AI and Deep Learning as the fliers for the event clearly mention. The possibility of a consumer-oriented GPU launch is highly unlikely. To validate my point, let’s have a look at the launches over the last few generations. From Kepler to Turing (from 2012 to 2018), none of the GeForce GTX or RTX graphics cards were revealed at a GTC event. That in itself should be enough to convince you that you won’t see an Ampere consumer card at GTC 2020 in March.

Although the launch frame for GPUs varies from generation to generation, it usually comes at a time when the competition demands it. At present, there’s no such need. The GeForce RTX Supers are well-positioned against the Navi 10 based RX 5700 series. The RTX 2060 price drop should handle the new RX 5600 XT even before it hits retail.

What we might actually see is an architectural reveal. A Quadro or Titan GPU for Deep Learning or AI-based applications could happen, but a consumer-centric launch is highly unlikely.

Ampere is expected to be built on Samsung’s (or/and TSMC) 7nm EUV process, which offers significant efficiency gains even over the non-EUV 7nm process that TSMC uses for Navi and Ryzen silicon. Combined with a-high architectural efficiency, we’re looking at significant gains in performance…or smaller die sizes.

It’s quite possible that Nvidia might leverage the addition die space to focus more on the ray-tracing hardware. This would mean incremental rasterization gains, together with a significant improvement to ray-tracing performance. All things considered, this wouldn’t be such a terrible outcome. If the GeForce RTX 2070 Super successor delivers ballpark RTX 2080 Ti performance with better ray-tracing, we could be in for an exciting year, graphics-wise. On the other hand, if Nvidia doubles down on performance, we could see one of the biggest jumps generation-on-generation that we’ve seen in a while. What will it be? We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more.

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Arjun

Penguin-published author, and journalist. Loves PC hardware but has terrible hand-eye coordination. Most likely to be found playing Total War or watching weird Russian sitcoms.
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