GDDR6 Changes the Game
The Last 48 Hours
It has been a busy 48 hours for the next-gen graphics card VRAM sector, with both Samsung and SK Hynix both teasing their new GDDR6 technology... but all I can think about is who would use this new tech, and when.
NVIDIA will be the first to use GDDR6, with Samsung and SK Hynix given enough time between now and GTC 2018 which NVIDIA kicks off March 26-29, two months from now. NVIDIA's own GPU Technology Conference (GTC) is a professional-focused event, so we won't see another GeForce graphics card unveiled at the event but a new TITAN X isn't out of the question.
Given that NVIDIA can now throw GDDR6 onto their cards, for real now, and skip over HBM2 which is made for the professional market, we could see a next-gen TITAN X graphics card unveiled now that the tech is there to drive it to the next level.
The current-gen TITAN Xp graphics card is powered by NVIDIA's now older Pascal GPU architecture, while the recently-unveiled and monstrous Ethereum miner in the TITAN V is based on their new Volta GPU architecture, but uses HBM2.
New TITAN X = GDDR6, Not HBM2
A new TITAN X wouldn't, in my opinion, use HBM2 but a smarter and more mainstream move would be the use of GDDR6 at its full 14Gbps on a 384-bit memory bus providing the new TITAN X a huge 768GB/sec of memory bandwidth, something that SK Hynix just unveiled.
This mixed in with the deal that NVIDIA has to make next-gen GPUs on Samsung's fresh 14nm node, we should expect the new TITAN X to use a refreshed Pascal GPU on 14nm. The current Pascal line up of cards are baked onto the 16nm node that is made by TSMC, but even last year when this news broke I said "we're going to see a 14nm-based Pascal refresh in early/mid-2017".
I think NVIDIA will host another Editor's Day in May, where they will unveil a new GTX 1180 and GTX 1170, rocking the new GDDR6 technology on a smaller 256-bit memory bus, but still at 14Gbps. Just this tweak alone will give them some serious 4K performance, but I think they'll come in the same 8GB configurations (down from 16GB offered on the new TITAN X). These new cards should arrive with the new 'Ampere' GPU we've been hearing about, which is probably a codename for the refreshed Pascal GPU.
There's not much that needs to be tweaked with Pascal as it is a proven GPU architecture that has great power efficiency, and it scales from the GTX 1050 through to the TITAN Xp. A refreshed Pascal GPU architecture on Samsung's 14nm GPU node mixed with the new GDDR6 technology... man, NVIDIA is going to have a great year.
You'll need to power those huge new 65-inch 4K 120Hz HDR G-Sync TVs, right? NVIDIA didn't unveil their new Big Format Gaming Displays (BFGD) for nothing, and 4K at 120FPS will not be something that you can do with the current-gen GTX 10 series graphics cards, even in SLI.
But, some new GDDR6-powered graphics cards with 14Gbps (or more) of memory bandwidth, something integral to high-resolution gaming like 4K at a huge 120FPS... now you're talking. Get two of those in SLI and you're rocking 4K 120FPS without a problem, all at a huge 65 inches.
GTC 2018 is right around the corner, and I will be there covering it live, and as for the Editor's Day... let's hope I'm right and May rings around with a huge announcement. Remember they unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 in May 2016... what a two-year reunion.
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