SAN FRANCISCO--Nvidia Corp.’s first generation Kepler GPU should emerge in March 2012, according to reports.
The GK107, first of the Nvidia Kepler series, a budget card aimed at a mainstream audience, will purportedly feature a 128-bit memory interface, GDDR5 memory and support PCI-Express 2.0, according to a timeline being touted by Japanese gaming site 4Gamer.net.
The first Kepler cards, successors to Nvidia’s Fermi architecture and based on TSMC’s 28nm process, were initially expected to emerge in late 2011 but production has been pushed back to early Q2 of 2012. First silicon is apparently still on track for this year’s end.
Kepler GPUs will purportedly triple the dual-precision floating point performance of Fermi.
Following the release of the GK107, 4Gamer reports a mid-range GK196 GPU should also emerge in the second quarter to take the place of the now well-worn GTX 560, with a 256-bit memory interface, GDDR5 memory and support for faster PCI-Express 3.0.
The higher end GK104 GPU with 384-bit memory interface and GDDR5 memory looks set to launch in the early second half of 2012, while the dual-GPU version of that card, the GK110 will come to market sometime in the third quarter of next year. This pushes Nvidia’s highest end GK112 card –sporting a 512-bit memory interface-- out to late 2012 or even early 2013.
Nvidia would not confirm the roadmap, but denied any delay to its Kepler launch schedule noting, “our transition to 28nm is going better than 40nm, and yields are better than our original plan.” Current generation Fermi cards were notoriously delayed when they launched in the first half of 2010, owing to a complex design and large die size.
Despite saying the firm was on-schedule for Kepler, however, an Nvidia spokesman seemingly confirmed the delayed timeframe set out by 4Gamer, saying that the first Kepler GPUs would only be available in OEM systems and channel desktop boards at “some point” during the first half of 2012. “We have no further details to disclose at this time,” he added.
If Nvidia’s Kepler parts do launch in the second quarter of 2012, they will be playing catch-up with counterpart cards from rival Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) due out early next year.
AMD's Southern Islands GPUs -- Radeon HD 7900-series-- are set to come out with higher end models leading the way. Ultra high-end card Tahiti is due to be first in line, expected out in January, followed by the Tahiti Pro in February, with midrange Pitcairn cards to follow towards the end of February and beginning of March, giving AMD a two to three card advantage in next generation graphics over Nvidia in the first quarter of next year.