NVIDIA is 'not worried' about AMD's next-gen Big Navi GPU

AMD's upcoming RDNA 2-based Big Navi might beat the GeForce RTX 3080, but it won't beat the higher-end RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090.

13 minutes & 3 seconds read time

NVIDIA found itself in a spot of trouble earlier this year, when reports surfaced that NVIDIA wanted to "leap frog" AMD in order to "prevent them" from getting bigger.

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What happened? NVIDIA reportedly "underestimated the effect of AMD embracing TSMC, and made some errors in its own plans for migrating to advanced nodes. Moving to Samsung and wavering in its TSMC strategy, only to be go back to TSMC later, NVIDIA was unable to secure enough 7nm capacity, resulting in AMD grabbing the limelight, eroding NVIDIA's brand value, and increase its own market share for GPUs".

Well, that might be the case this year -- where AMD's next-gen RDNA 2-based 'Big Navi' graphics card possibly toppling the best Ampere-based GeForce RTX 30 series graphics card (more on that here). At least, for this year -- but don't underestimate NVIDIA and its unrelenting thirst for being the best.

According to Tom over at Moore's Law is Dead, his insiders say that NVIDIA is "not worried about AMD beating their top cards". What they are worried about, is that RDNA 2 could beat the GeForce RTX 3080 -- which will be held back because NVIDIA is forced to make it on Samsung 8nm.

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But after that, when NVIDIA is back with holding hands with TSMC and unleashes a high-end Ampere card on 7nm then it should absolutely destroy the RTX 3080 and Big Navi. Tom says we should expect:

  • GeForce RTX 3080 on Samsung 8nm: 15-25% faster than RTX 2080 Ti
  • GeForce RTX 3090 on TSMC 7nm: 45-60% faster than RTX 2080 Ti
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  • NVIDIA and TSMC troubles over 7nm: NVIDIA shifted some of its foundry weight to Samsung in 2019, but AMD quickly started seeing wins with its effiencicy on 7nm TSMC and went to move back for Ampere. But AMD had secured the gigantic chunk of 7nm TSMC fab time with its various chips. This forced NVIDIA to split between Samsung (RTX 3080 and others) and then TSMC (higher-end RTX 3090, etc).
  • AMD gobbling up all that 7nm: AMD is gobbling up all that 7nm production at TSMC, between its Ryzen, Threadripper, and EPYC processors -- then its Radeon RX series graphics cards (both current, and RDNA 2-based next-gen cards) as well as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X chips are all on 7nm over at TSMC.
  • GeForce RTX 3080 = 8nm with Samsung: This wasn't meant to happen, but it is -- and NVIDIA has no option but to deal with it. NVIDIA will use Samsung's new 8nm node for at least 3 of its Ampere GPUs (you can read more on that here), but they won't quite have the power to completely topple Big Navi.
  • GeForce RTX 3090 = 7nm with TSMC: However, the higher-end GeForce RTX 3090 will -- but it'll launch in Q1 2021. This card, is what is being called inside NVIDIA as the trump card.
  • NVIDIA's trump card: GeForce RTX 3090 will be made on 7nm with TSMC, and this should be quite the monster indeed with it rumored to be 45-60% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti. This will be the card that NVIDIA strikes down very, very hard in early 2021.

Image source.

More reading:

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  • Traversal coprocessor: We have had more leaks on NVIDIA's next-gen GeForce RTX 3000 series than any family of graphics cards before it, with an interesting "traversal coprocessor" on the new GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards. You can read more on that here.
  • NVCache: Ampere is meant to have something called NVCache, which would be NVIDIA's own form of AMD's HBCC (High Bandwidth Cache Controller, more on that here). NVCache would use your system RAM and SSD to super-speed game load times, as well as optimizing VRAM usage. You can read more on NVCache here.
  • Tensor Memory Compression: NVCache is interesting, but Tensor Memory Compression will be on Ampere, and will reportedly use Tensor Cores to both compress and decompress items that are stored in VRAM. This could see a 20-40% reduction in VRAM usage, or more VRAM usage with higher textures in next-gen games and Tensor Memory Compression decreasing that VRAM footprint by 20-40%.
  • How fast is the GeForce RTX 3090? Freaking fast according to rumors, with 60-90% more performance than the current Turing-based flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. We could see this huge performance leap in ray tracing titles, but we'll have to wait a little while longer to see how much graphical power NVIDIA crams into these new cards. You can read more on those rumors here.
  • Power hungry: As for power consumption, GA102 reportedly uses 230W -- while 24GB of GDDR6X (which we should see on the new Ampere-based TITAN RTX) consumes 60W of power. You can read more on that here.
  • Production begins soon: NVIDIA is reportedly in the DVT (or Design Validation Test) range of its new GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards. Mass production reportedly kicks off in August 2020, with a media event, benchmarks, and more in September 2020 as I predicted many months ago. More on that here.
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I've already written about rumors that NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere GPU architecture would be up to 75% faster than current-gen GPUs such as the Turing architecture, right after rumors that Ampere would offer 50% more performance at half the power of Turing. This is pretty crazy stuff right there.

Not only that, but we've got some rumored specs on the purported GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 graphics cards, which will both be powered by NVIDIA's new Ampere GPU architecture.

We've already heard that Ampere would offer 50% more performance at half the power of Turing, which sent the hairs on my neck standing up. Better yet, you can read about the leaked specs on the purported Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 right here.

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Even more reading:

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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