Published in Graphics

Nvidia will have two big GPUs in 2018

by on20 December 2017

Ampere and the gaming GPU

There have been many reports that Nvidia’s next generation technology will be codenamed Ampere and we want to set one thing straight. The successor of Volta is an AI/ML chip and not a GPU - just like Volta never was.

Many will jump the gun and say well, Volta did ship as a Titan V for $2999 and you can perform cryptocurrency mining with it really well. Since this is HBM 2, and an extremely big core, Nvidia could never bring this to a reasonable $750ish market and would struggle to sell Titan V even at $1,000.

Nvidia wanted to address the Founders/Titan prosumers market and offer them a very fast GPU and that is what Volta is. Volta, as you know by now, shines in machine learning and artificial intelligence thanks to optimized architecture and a bunch of specialized tensor cores. It would made a hell of a GPU but big chunks of the Volta won't  do anything for graphics acceleration as they are, quite simply, hardwired for AI tasks. Since Nvidia knows that some people are willing to spend $2,999 to get the Volta for research, it kick-started this market. Nvidia has always been well known for making people pay a ridiculous amount of money for pinnacle technology as Jensen loves the incredible high margins.

DRIVE PX Pegasus

Nvidia will have a GPU that will come in 2018 to replace the Pascal based GTX 1000 series and won’t be a cut down version of Volta. It will be a brand new unit designed from  scratch. Jensen already announced the next generation Post Volta GPU in European GTC in October 2017.

The new DRIVE PX Pegasus is necessary for Level 5 autonomous driving for  robo taxis in the future and has two Post Volta big GPUs. This solution is not shipping anytime soon and will most likely start showing up in the latter part of 2018. Nvidia has already said that  Level 5 autonomous taxis might start showing up in 2021, a good three years from now.  

Bear in mind that the automotive industry is a very slow one. It takes around six years to refresh a new car platform. It takes three years to do a face lift of an existing car. So, the car that they started designing in 2017 won’t be shipping before 2023. Level 5 Robo taxis of 2021 have started development in 2015.

So, the post Volta GPU inside of the Drive PX Pegasus will take years to integrate in car designs. The Volvo Drive PX 2 is based on 2x Tegra X2 Parker and 2x Pascal based GPUs and was announced two years ago. Nvidia went public about it at CES 2016 that Volvo has a plan to power a fleet of 100 Volvo XC90 SUVs that showed up on some roads in 2017.

2018 GTX at its own event

Our colleagues around the globe are speculating the release date and most likely the Volta successor will be announced at Nvidia’s GPU technology conference between March 26 - March 29 2018. It will most likely ship much later than that, but hey, at least Nvidia can announce  things to come.

The gaming GPU will be launched at its own event, as this has been its practice for many years now. AI and Gaming big GPUs have separate roadmaps as you can make money on two big chips specialized for a given task.

It is hard to imagine that the successor of Volta or Nvidia GPU can be manufactured at 7nm simply as 7nm won’t be available for GPUs in 2018. Nvidia will most likely stick with the reliable 12nm.

Last modified on 20 December 2017
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