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nvidia-geforce-gtx-logo
Hardware

NVIDIA may very well be preparing their Maxwell based GM204 GPU as spotted in a leak posted by Videocardz. The leak which shows shipment data from Zauba.com (via 3DCenter) lists several GPUs along with their naming codes which means that NVIDIA may be currently testing their next generation graphics processing units.NVIDIA Maxwell

NVIDIA Maxwell GM204 GPU Spotted In The Wild, Kepler GK210 In Works

The first chip spotted is the GM204 GPU which is based on NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. How do we know if its based on Maxwell architecture? Simple, the naming scheme and the ‘M’ moniker which is used to represent the specific architecture of the chip is used for the Maxwell generation of GPUs, e.g. GM107 (GeForce Maxwell), GK 104 (GeForce Kepler, GF104 (GeForce Fermi). The chip is codenamed GM204-GB3-256 which is pretty interesting since it brings up some speculation, the 256 at the end could mean a 256-bit bus interface which might seem true since NVIDIA’s GM204 predecessor, the GK104 featured a 256-bit bus or it could just be one of those odd naming schemes (GK104-225-A2).

It is not confirmed what process would the GeForce Maxwell GM204 GPU would be based on but if the card is planned for launch in early 2H 2014 then we will be looking at a 28nm architecture otherwise we will most likely see 20nm Maxwell GPUs. We recently reported how AMD is going to stick with 28nm across their products this year so they same may be true for NVIDIA. Both companies can wait and perfect their 20nm GPUs for launch next year. The new Maxwell cards would be released as the GeForce 800 series as reported several times before since the GeForce 700 series is over crowded with several GK110 chips. The first two GPUs, presumably the GTX 880 and GTX 870 could both be based on the GM204 GPU but that remains to be seen until officially confirmed. NVIDIA did release their first GeForce Kepler cards on the GM104 architecture and only launched their higher performance GK110 a year later as the GeForce GTX Titan and now we have a lineup that has several GK110 cards.

Their are three chips which NVIDIA plans to launch with their Maxwell architecture (note that not all of these would be launched during the same time and we will see variation in launch):

  • NVIDIA GM200 (Maxwell Architecture, High-Performance for Telsa/Quadro Arrives later for Cosnumers, Successor of GK110)
  • NVIDIA GM204 (Maxwell Architecture, High-End Consumer, Successor of GK104, First GeForce 800 Series Products likely to feature)
  • NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell Architecture, Performance Minded, Successor of GK206, Mid-Range GeForce 800 Series products to feature)
  • NVIDIA GM107/207 (Maxwell Architecture, Entry Level, Successor of GK107, Entry Level GeForce 800/700 Series To feature, Already introduced on GTX 750 Ti / GTX 750)

The other chip which has been spotted is the GK210 and codenamed as the GK210-INT5156-A1 ,GK210-885-A1, GK210-CS1-A1. There are no details on this chip but Videocardz mentions that this chip could end up in the upcoming GeForce GTX Titan Z or the Quadro-Z / Tesla-Z products which could be Dual-GK110 variants aimed for the professional market. NVIDIA has also used such branding schemes on their existing products as they called the Tesla K40 chip as the GK180 “GeForce Atlas” whereas it was just a better binned GK110. So it could be the same thing since NVIDIA is done with GeForce Kepler and they are making nothing new when it comes to GPUs for the Kepler generation, cards are another thing.NVIDIA GK210 GPUNVIDIA GM204 GPU

 

You thought the Geforce 700 Series was over, didn’t you ?  Well think again. I am also willing to bet that when asked of an upcoming 700 Series GPU you wold have answered: GTX 790, well, Nvidia has other plans (Does not mean that the 790 isn’t coming). We have just received confirmation that Nvidia is adding not one but three GPUs to their Geforce 700 Series. Namely and in ascending order these are the GT 705, GT 710 and GT 720.

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-650-635x403

An Nvidia GTX 650

Nvidia Geforce GT 705, GT 710 and GT 720 to Debut as OEM Only Cards – To have Fermi and Kepler Cores

So basically what we have here is Nvidia rolling out some low end (and when I say low end, I mean really low end) and almost certainly OEM only products to the Geforce 700 series. Although the GT 720 might get to see the light of retail, the GT 705 and GT 710 will probably only ever appear in pre-made OEM pcs charging people extra because of a ‘dedicated gpu’ and before this results in a flame war the same thing happens with low-end Radeon. Pardon my presumptuousness but some marketing tactics are borderline illegal. Putting aside my rant, here is the spec sheet of the upcoming arrivals to the Nvidia lineup, which will probably be launched completely stealthily:

WCCFTech  GPU Core Core Clock Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Memory Bus CUDA Cores  TMUs  ROPs Transistors TDP
Geforce GT 705  GF119-300-A1 810 Mhz  1796 Mhz 1 GB DDR3  64 Bit   48  8  4 292 Million 29W
Geforce GT 710  GK208-301-A1 823 Mhz  1800 Mhz 512MB DDR3  64 Bit   192  16  8 Unknown Unknown
Geforce GT 720  GK208-301-A1 902 Mhz  1800 Mhz 1 GB DDR3  64 Bit   384  16  8 Unknown Unknown

Gigabyte has sent out press briefings for a card that will raise many an eyebrow. The reason? It is a custom cooled GTX Titan Black and no it is not a Water Cooled card (which does not violate Nvidia’s AIB Restriction). However Gigabyte steps around the restriction by including the Custom Cooling solution along with a full reference card and then selling it at slightly above MSRP. The result? you get a massive 600W Windforce 3X GPU Cooler along with a reference GTX TITAN BLACK for only 910 Euros.

2

Gigabyte’s 600W Windforce 3X GTX TITAN BLACK – A beast of a cooler that will excel at Over Clocking

I must say that AIBs should be commended for circumventing Nvidia’s AIB Restriction (innovation and ingenuity are the hallmark of progress). The price bump is somewhat hard to stomach, though I guess if you are already dishing out 1k, another 200 dollars should not make a difference. However, this goes on to show you that gaming companies might still be looking out for gamers along with their own Business Motive after all. Anyways moving on to the actual news. So this particular cooler series from Gigabyte is nothing new, infact a common example is the Windforce 3X 450W. Gigabyte hasn’t changed much apart from the actual heat sink which can now accommodate 200W more heat. The design remains more or less the same with copper heat pipes delivering the load directly to two heat sinks separated by a few centimeters of air.

When Nvidia showed us official slides for its upcoming DX 11 ‘Optimization’ Drivers we saw massive performance increase all over the board in nearly all situations. Now of course, Nvidia’s 337.5 Beta Driver was meant to reduce CPU-Overhead so when we saw that it gave a frames per second increase in Single GPU solutions too, we were pretty impressed. However it turns out that the numbers portrayed, although ‘technically’ true, don’t really apply with the same magnitude to your average scenarios.

NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 BETA DriverImage courtesy of VideocardZ.com

Nvidia 337.5 Beta Drivers Give You a Massive 71% increase – Just throw in another GPU

To put it bluntly, Nvidia’s official slides are a hair short of being bad faith. See, you do get a 71% increase with these drivers in Rome Total War, as compared to the 335 Driver set. But thats only because the 335 Drivers did not support SLI, and the 337.5 Beta Drivers do. Don’t get me wrong the new drivers do give you a significant increase, but they do so very selectively and Nvidia conveniently failed to mention that. If you play Metro 2033, you will see a significant increase in FPS, but if you are for eg, playing Crysis 3, do  not expect much of an increase.

[Update]: A Good many people have been confused by the 128 GB/s speed of the stacked DRAM mentioned in our table. They have also confused it with the 1 Terabytes per second achievable speed mentioned by the CEO of Nvidia. The speed mentioned here is not the total memory bandwidth of a GPU once all Mem. Chips are in place and is the total memory bandwidth of one chip only. Notice that the table mentions GDDR 5 max as 28GB/s when we clearly don’t get just 28GB/s with GDDR5 GPUs.

[Editorial] Before I begin, my humble warning that this post might get a little technical. This generation of graphic cards is not about brute power, but efficiency and intelligent design. To achieve the maximum throughput while maintaining a very small foot print. Basically, true progress; and its not just about adding more transistors on a die. Nvidia demoed two critical technologies on GTC this year, namely NV Link and Stacked DRAM aka ’3D Memory’. However they understandably failed to give a lot of technical details since the demo was for the general audience, but I will try to take care of that today, albeit slightly late.

NVIDIA Pascal GPU Chip Module

Nvidia Pascal: Using CoW (Chip-on-Wafer) based 3D Memory to Achieve the Next Gen GPU

Lets begin with 3D Memory. Now most of you know what SoC (System-on-Chip) means, but now we have a slightly less used term which I will take the opportunity to explain. Basically the CoW (cue mundane bovine jokes) or Chip on Wafer design is a technique used to plant a single logic circuit directly over or under a stack of wafers. Basically the chips are stacked and Silicon punched through in vertical pillars called TSV (Through Silicon Vias) till the Control Die. In this case, it means that the DRAMs that are stacked will be controlled by a single logic circuit and henceforth referred to as a ‘Chip-on-Wafer’ design. In all probability the Nvidia 3D RAM will be using the JEDEC HBM standard, which funnily enough was developed by JEDEC and AMD.  However the actual production will most likely be carried out by SK Hynix. Pascal’s Stacked DRAM Design’s 2 modules of configuration:

Configuration 1: 2x Stack (512 Gb/s) + 1 (Control Die). This is called 2-Hi HBM.
Configuration 2: 4x Stack (1024 Gb/s) + 1 (Control Die) This is called 4-Hi HBM.

Nvidia might even bring a configuration standard in its Pascal Architecture between these 2 ‘traditional’ configs (3 Stacks) but that is unlikely. It could theoretically reach speeds of 2 -  4 Terabytes per second by ramping upto 16-Hi or 32-Hi HBM with multiple chips on the GPU. So here we have an interesting question. Green has promised us speeds up to 1 Terabytes per Second. So there is more or less no question that the high end GPUs will ship with very high layers of stack , however what about the middle and lower order? Will they also ship with the same layers of stack or a lesser configuration. If I were to make an educated speculation I would put my money on multiple configurations scaled across the spectrum of GPUs. As in the lower order to have 2 + 1 layers, while as the top order could have the 8 + 1 layers (or more) . Continuing the same speculation, HBM utilizes a low operating frequency and low power requirement. Therefore Nvidia’s Stacked DRAM will most probably operate at around 1.2V with frequency around 1Ghz. Here is a comparison chart between our traditional GDDR5 Ram ad x2 ad x4 stacks of DRAM with the control dies.

NVIDIA has officially launched their performance boosting GeForce 337.50 BETA driver which as mentioned, optimizes DirectX 11 performance in a wide selection of gaming titles. Geared specifically towards GeForce graphics cards, the GeForce 337.50 BETA offers both SLI and Single GPU performance boosts with 10 – 20 % enhancements versus the previous GeForce driver.

DirectX 11 API Enhancements GeForce 337.50 Driver

NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 BETA Performance Boosting Driver Official

Now, what’s really interesting about the GeForce 337.50 BETA driver is that it is specifically geared to enhance performance in DirectX 11 API. The GeForce 337.50 BETA driver takes a well known approach to solve processor overhead without moving to a new API (DX12 for example). The approach is called ‘Tiled Resources’ and a weak variant of the same is also used in Mantle API. This will also grant Developers more control at the Assembly level which will allow them to tweak performance for specific set of hardware. Just like AMD’s Mantle API which runs on GCN based graphics unit, the GeForce 337.50 Driver will improve performance of GeForce 500 series and up without the need of a separate API.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-logo
Hardware

NVIDIA has revealed on their official GeForce website that the upcoming GeForce 337.50 BETA driver would launch on 7th April. The GeForce 337.50 BETA driver would bring several DirectX Optimizations that will help significantly boost performance of GeForce GPUs based graphics cards.

NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 Driver – 64-Bit Download Link (Will Be Available on 7th April)NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 BETA

NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 BETA Driver Available On 7th April

Now, what’s really interesting about the GeForce 337.50 BETA driver is that it is specifically geared to enhance performance in DirectX 11 API. The GeForce 337.50 BETA driver takes a well known approach to solve processor overhead without moving to a new API (DX12 for example). The approach is called ‘Tiled Resources’ and a weak variant of the same is also used in Mantle API. This will also grant Developers more control at the Assembly level which will allow them to tweak performance for specific set of hardware. Just like AMD’s Mantle API which runs on GCN based graphics unit, the GeForce 337.50 Driver will improve performance of GeForce 500 series and up without the need of a separate API.

With several gaming titles already running on DirectX 11 API, we can see performance enhancements through a wide variety of games as opposed to AMD’s Mantle which currently only enables on two titles (Battlefield 4 and Thief). The Mantle API is said to be featured across several upcoming gaming titles but as long as there’s DirectX 11 in the game, NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards will get the same if not better performance enhancements. This does show that both GPU manufacturer’s are gearing up with their own experiments for the upcoming DirectX 12 API which will enable all the low-level CPU overhead optimizations and additional features for next generation graphics hardware. This will give these companies ample time to develop hardware which can be utilized to the core by developers and programmers to effectively utilize the hardware capabilities.

On GDC it was mentioned that the Tegra K1 SoC ‘could’ support DirectX 12 API. Well we have just received confirmation that Nvidia’s Mobile SoC will indeed support DirectX 12 API.  Also some sites were claiming that Denver has been erased or canceled etc, so take it from us, the Tegra K1 64 Bit (with Denver) is still on track.

NVIDIA Tegra K1

Nvidia Tegra K1 64 Bit ‘Denver’ still on track – Tegra K1 SoC will Support DirectX 12 API, Confirmed

Previously the Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC has full support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4 and ES 3.0. So while DirectX 12 API is supported DirectX 12 is in all probability not there. This has caused some confusion in the past too, for example current generation GPUs will support DX 12 API but not the full blown DX 12. That will only come in future architectures and even 20nm Maxwell in all probability. However you will not get full DX 12 feature set on your current GPUs, don’t be fooled by the current AMD, Nvidia GPUs support DX12 API tag , that ‘api’ keyword makes all the difference. Of course since we are taking about CPU overhead you will get the most critical thing in the API, with only the next gen GFX and hardware features (if any) missing.

Anyways, the Tegra K1 SoC I can now confirm, fully supports the DirectX 12 API and regardless of what you hear on the Interwebs, Denver is still coming in the Tegra K1 64 bit (aptly named) SoC. However even though there is a chance that Tegra K1 gets eventual hardware level support for DX 12, there are arguments against it too. The argument for is of course it is Nvidia’s flagship mobile processor so empowering it is critical. The argument against is that it is almost finishing its run on the assembly line, adding a brand new feature now could be very difficult, unless of course, it was going to be there to begin with.

Disclaimer: This Post was Published on the 1st of April and is an April Fools Joke.

Hell just froze over. In a Wolf of Wall Street-esque move today, AMD pulled its stocks from NYSE and went Private. Nvidia acquired AMD shortly thereafter. However what was apparently an obviously strategic acquisition turned out to be a Reverse-Takeover as AMD’s brand resumed itself.

AMD-Nvidia

Pascal Islands Launching in 2016 – Nvidia Gets Acquired by AMD in a Brilliant Reverse TakeOver

In what is either the best thing or the worst thing (depending on your view point) AMD just stated in a Press Conference that it has indeed acquired Nvidia in a brilliant Reverse Takeover Maneuver. Details are sketchy but apparently AMD pulled its stocks from NYSE and went private. This allowed Nvidia to aquire AMD hassle free, after which AMD’s top brass reasserted themselves in control. Basically Even though technically AMD acquired Nvidia, this is more or less a very very fancy merger.

Even more interestingly it seems that the roadmap of both Nvidia and AMD has been dropped. Maxwell will still be arriving in late 2014 (in H2 probably) and the R9 295X2 is still releasing. We don’t have any information on Pirate Islands so expect it to be cancelled. However, AMD-Nvidia’s new architecture with the power of HSA, eficiency of Maxwell, Nvidia’s Stacked DRAM and NVLink and AMD’s HQ and Low Level Innovations, Pascal Islands will bre relasing in Q1 2016.

Wow, this is turning into a full fledged soap opera. New information that comes from the Swedish Sewclockers.com suggests that Nvidia’s plans for 20nm Maxwell might take a big hit because of TSMC not being ready for 20nm GPU ASIC production. This source is pretty reliable, but for news this big, I would recommend you guys take it with a pinch of salt.

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TSMC Not Ready for 20nm GPU Production – Nvidia 20nm Maxwell Delayed to Late 2014, Early 2015 – Intermediary 28nm Maxwell?

This news is pretty surprising but this is the rationale, the source gives. Basically 20nm has already begun at TSMC, but apparently the process is not yet ready for full fledged GPU core production. This is of course very bad news for Nvidia which has been ready with its Maxwell Architecture since quite some some time now. According to the same source, we might see an odd card or two by the end of 2014 but the actual lineup will most probably come in 2015. The reason being, as I have already stated, that TSMC is not ready to begin 20nm GPU Production.

Interestingly this would shorten the market lead Nvidia has over the GPU Cycle, meaning more time for AMD GPUs to sell under the same cycle. Also I am not sure how this will affect Nvidia’s roadmap in the long run, meaning whether Pascal, Volta etc are still on track. Because if this means that a delay will stack up on a delay, then its bad news all round. However there is also another chance. And that chance is that Nvidia releases intermediary 28nm Maxwell GPUsI do not know how likely this is, but I am going to put it on record just to be on the safe side. I have sent an email to Nvidia’s PR department, and whatever the case may be, I will update this article.

We have covered some Kaveri benchmarks before and I keep thinking that they are over, but it turns out there is one aspect we did not cover. A Chinese site recently ran the Flagship Kaveri APU in a GPGPU showdown against Maxwell and other dGPUs. These benchmarks reveal surprising insights into the power and efficiency of the Kaveri’s architecture and in a few cases its weaknesses. Without any further ado (boy this line is getting old) lets begin.

AMD Kaveri APU A10-7850K GPGPU and Compute Showdown with Maxwell dGPUs

Know Maxwell made headlines for the impressive increase of Performance Per Watt and the no-external-power connector feature. However Nvidia hardware has always been very restricted in terms of Double Precision computing and GPGPU in general. The reason is of course deliberate DP restriction per GPU Cycle to usually 1/8 the SP amount. So just how well will the GTX 750 and TX 750 Ti fare against an iGPU, more specifically the AMD Kaveri A10-7850K, in a battle of Compute. What may normally be an unfair match (iGPU vs. dGPU) becomes surprisingly competitive as you will see.  Oh and I almost forgot, a big shout out to inpai.com.cn for providing us with the benches. A DDR3-2400 Mhz Dual Ranked RAM was used for the APU to make sure it performed at its best.

Remember the wonder driver from Nvidia that showed massive performance increases on the DX11 API? Well we have some more information on that front. Nvidia has revealed in its GTC conference that it will be releasing said driver sometime in April and its nomenclature will be “337.xx”.

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Nvidia Releasing the “337.xx” DX11 Wonder Driver in April – CPU Overhead Solved on the Same API

Nvidia revealed in a talk at GTC that the DX11 API update that was showcased on the previous GTC session will arrive in the form of a Geforce Driver, more specifically the Geforce 337.xx Driver. It will be released sometime in April and will result in very significant performance gains inside the DX11 API itself. The new driver takes a well known approach to solve CPU overhead without moving to a new API (DX12 for example). The approach is called ‘Tiled Resources’ and a weak variant of the same is also used in Mantle API. This will also grant Developers more control at the Assembly level.

The numbers revealed by Nvidia were very impressive, especially considering that Low Level access is not possible without a rewrite of the API, this is pretty impressive. Ofcourse, the benchmarks themselves came under criticism because of the fact that a very high end processor was used to test a supposedly “CPU-Overhead-Reducing” Driver. However the performance gain on that very same processor just by shifting to this new driver is quite decent.

[Editorial] Skynet has been a very prevalent icon in tech-culture for the past decade. The fear of Machines rising against humanity and robotic overlords are all frequently visited territories. Interestingly, one would expect that the expected result of all the Technophobic media might have been to deter us away from A.I. work; but the actual effect seems to be the opposite. Scientists have become more or less obsessed with achieving a thinking, rationalizing, and sentient Intelligence; simulated or otherwise. Skynet of legend, I remember, was a Neural-Net based Artificial Intelligence. It worked on the concept of “Machine Learning”. It so happens that Nvidia showcased what appears to be the first fully Scalable Deep Neural Network based (Primitive) Intelligence System. A System that can deploy “Machine Learning” and actually learn just like a human.

SKYNET Powered by NvidiaDisclaimer: I am about 90% sure that I am joking about Skynet.

Deep Neural Network Intelligence demonstrates Unsupervised Machine Learning at Nvidia’s GTC

I think a basic introduction on how Neural Nets work and function is in order. Of course the actual way a neural net works is low level code, so I can only provide a very simplified explanation. Neural Networks were thought of first as a way to perfectly simulate the Human and Animal nervous system where a neuron fires for any object ‘recognized’. The reasoning went so that if we could replicate the trigger process with virtual ‘neurons’ we should be able to achieve ‘true’ machine learning and eventually even Artificial Intelligence. Now thing is, Nvidia isn’t exactly the first company to achieve a working Deep Neural Network (with collaboration from Stanford University). The first DNN was created by Google. Thats right, the one company that is powerful and ambitious enough to pioneer something like true A.I. capabilities.

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Hardware

Alongside the launch of the world’s fastest GPU, this Tuesday Nvidia also launched what it calls the world’s ”first mobile supercomputer”. The Jetson TK1 developer kit will now enable development of technologies such as seamless navigation of robots, ability of cars to avoid pedestrians and more importantly, the ability of doctors to perform mobile ultrasound scans. The launch of this platform opens countless doors in further development of machines that are less reliant on human operators.nvidia-jetson-tk1,K-G-428416-22

With a total performance of 326 Gflops, the Jetson TK1 is many times more powerful than the Raspberry Pie

The developer kit includes a full C/C++ toolkit based on the NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture, making it much easier to program upon than the existing platforms available in the market. Powered by the 192 core, Kepler based Tegra K1 super chip, the platform will be able to bridge the gap betwen mobile computing and super computing, NVIDIA claims. Designed specifically for CUDA, the platform will enable developers to quickly develop and deploy computer intensive systems. NVIDIA also claimed that the chip will be able to bring next generation PC gaming to mobile devices and match the graphics performance of gaming consoles.

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Hardware

In the midst of excitement of all the news and hype surrounding the announcement of the world’s fastest GTX, the GTX Titan Z, overclockers at the event Bench of Peace have managed to set new records in performance for the previous Nvidia GeForce GTX 780Ti overclocking it to an astounding 1920mhz on the core clock.. Overclocking enthusiast Dancop from Germany and Xtreme Addict from Poland managed to overclock the card to 1920/7600 MHz on HWBOT.

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The 780 Ti K|NGP|N Edition puts its parent card to shame.

As we discussed before, the K|NG P|n Edition has been designed especially for enthusiasts by Evga. The PCB of the card has a powerful 14+3 VRM with an 8+8+6 pin power configuration. This, coupled with an Evga connector and the heatsink with aluminum blocks interconnected with 6 heat pipes, the card truly has unlimited potential for enthusiasts. It is this potential that Dancop unleashed, setting new records on 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme with achieving speeds of 1920/7600 MHz on the card and 6024 MHz on the Core i7-4930K.



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