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NVIDIA's reveal of Pascal teases the next-gen GeForce video cards

By: Anthony Garreffa | Editorials in Video Cards | Posted: Apr 16, 2016 9:41 am

NVIDIA may have paraded around its new Pascal-based Tesla P100 at GTC 2016, but what about GeForce? Well, that's coming - and the next-gen consumer video cards should be unveiled before Computex - which kicks off on May 31 in Taiwan.




We don't know exactly what to expect, but I do know that the models we'll see in the next six months or so won't be powered by the incredibly fast HBM2 technology. We heard whispers of a faster GDDR5X standard last year, and we're continuing to hear more rumors on it - so we should expect to see the more flagship video card from NVIDIA powered by GDDR5X.



What Should We Expect?


Pascal is incredible, but we don't know what makes it tick - we know that it, baked on the 16nm FinFET process, is something truly awesome - but what new features and abilities can we expect from the GeForce video card side of things?



Well, we should expect a huge uptick in power efficiency - something that the Maxwell architecture did incredibly well when it was unveiled in late 2014. NVIDIA has been on top of the power efficiency game for a few years now, but the 16nm process is going to solidify that in a very, very big way.



GDDR5 + GDDR5X, But No HBM2... Yet


When AMD unveiled its Radeon R9 Fury X last year, it was powered by, at least at the time, incredible HBM memory. HBM was ushered in as a savior of memory bandwidth and ever increasingly long cards, but the performance benefit was simply not there.




So many technology sites praise HBM, but I have yet to have seen the performance benefits of HBM over GDDR5 - and that's a huge issue. HBM costs much, much more money to slap onto a video card - and HBM1 is very expensive. HBM2 will bring the prices down because it'll be used on magnitudes more video cards, thanks to it expanding past the 4GB limit that HBM1 imposed.


The first few Pascal-based GeForce video cards out of the rank should be what everyone seems to be calling them now - and I'll do so for the purpose of continuity in this article - the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070.


The GeForce GTX 1080, or whatever it'll be called, will most likely feature GDDR5X, and be the faster of the revealed video cards next month. This shouldn't surprise you, but GDDR5X is considerably faster, and doesn't use any more power to provide that memory bandwidth increase.


The slower, mid-range GeForce GTX 1070 (and again, whatever it'll be called) will most likely continue to use GDDR5, and take the memory bandwidth hit - but it'll be a $300-$400 part, hopefully. The GTX 1080 will most likely be priced at $450-$600, depending on what kind of distance NVIDIA wants to put between the two new cards.

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