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We have received a pretty interesting update on Nvidia’s Maxwell Mobility front. This mobility leak, as usual, comes from the user Cloudfire over at NotebookReview Forums. Apparently, the GTX 980M Flagship is landing in October this year. Since the release date of desktop Maxwell also coincides with this, and the information comes from a reliable source, I will not be tagging this post as a rumor and will treat it as confirmed.

Maxwell-GTX-880-

Geforce 900 Series Mobility Maxwell – GTX 980M Flagship Shipping in October

Uptill  now we only knew that some new Geforce Mobility Cards were coming and that they were going to have Maxwell Counterparts as well. We now have a more or less a reliable lock on the release date of the main card as well. The New Nvidia cards are going to be landing in around October this year and are going to be a part of the new 900 series. The Geforce GTX 980m is going to be the flagship card of the whole bunch and though we do not have confirmation on lithography, it will most likely be Maxwell and the mobile variant of the GM204 die.

That said, I am not sure how this will fit in with the 880MX leaks we have been getting for a while now. Since if the dies are Maxwell then in all probability we are looking at 28nm node and if it is 28nm then the GTX 880MX was supposed to be the new mobility king. If the GTX 980M is instead making an appearance then does that mean we won’t be seeing the MX series after all? Most Probably. Unless ofcourse, Nvidia goes completely bonkers and decides to go for another milking run instead, which would seem highly unlikely. Since the Mobility GPU, GTX 980M has a very distinctive name, not to mention a nomenclature flagship, as opposed to a transitional name such as being a variant of the preceding series with just ‘MX’ added, these GPUs are here to stay for a while. Now for some good old speculation on the upcoming Geforce 900 Series Mobility Cards Lineup:

It looks like Nvidia has finally spoken officially about Mantle. And turns out that they think that Mantle is basically useless (for Geforce GPUs) and there is no sense in supporting it. This is probably one of the most painstakingly obvious PR reports I am going to make. There was just no way Nvidia would end up supporting Mantle, regardless of the fact whether Mantle could or could not have been of use to them. The sheer rivalry and competitive nature of their relationship just would not have permitted this to happen.

NVIDIA DirectX 11 API Advancements GeForce 337.50 BETANvidia’s “Wonder Drivers”

Nvidia’s Official Stance on Mantle: Hasn’t Happened, Wont Happen and Not Needed

The actual PR statement was made on a Podcast at MaximumPC and the transcript has been taken from DSOGaming.com. Before we begin lets take a look at that they said, here is the first para:

“We don’t know much about Mantle, we are not part of Mantle. And clearly if they see value there they should go for it. And if they can convince game developers to go for it, go for it. It’s not an Nvidia thing. The key thing is to develop great technologies that deliver benefits to gamers. Now in the case of Mantle it’s not so clear to me that there is a lot of obvious benefits there.” – Tom Petersen & Rev Lebaradian.

Basically Nvidia stated that if you take a look at their recent driver updates you will notice almost no performance difference between the new drivers and Mantle API in configurations that matter which is possibly a reference to the fact that extreme amounts of CPU Overhead is rare (e.g: coupling an i3 with a GTX 780 Ti SLI). They are of course referring to the wonder drivers that matched Mantle’s performance increases on the DX11 (something I released criticism on too) which was quite an achievement. The problem is that, nearly every other game is optimized differently so it becomes very hard to distinguish between an API’s Low Level Optimization and just plain old driver optimization. The end result is that the battle becomes blurred and the stage remains unchanged.

NVIDIA’s next generation Maxwell core architecture based GeForce GTX 880, GeForce GTX 870 and GeForce GTX 860 will launch in October this year, as reported by GDM.OR.JP. The site which is part of one of the most major hardware retailers in Japan have been pretty accurate with their earlier leaks so we will assume that the October launch time-frame is quite accurate considering the launch was planned for Q4 2014 was narrowed down to October / November a few weeks ago and now we have a much more accurate schedule of NVIDIA’s Maxwell GPU launches.NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880

NVIDIA Maxwell Based GeForce GTX 880 and GeForce GTX 870 To Launch in Early October

The first two Maxwell cards to launch in the consumer market would be the high-performance GeForce GTX 880 and GeForce GTX 870. These cards will feature the GM204 core architecture which is the successor of the GK104/GK114 core from the Kepler generation. From little things we know thanks to the leaked PCB shot of NVIDIA’s alleged GeForce GTX 880 graphics card, we come to know that the core being used for the sample variant was GM204-INT41684-A1 however there has been a little variation in the codename and it is now called GM204-CS0-A1 (note that the CS stands for Consumer Sample) which means that final testing is under way and the chip will soon end up in the consumer market as the GeForce GTX 880. The chip is also the first of four variants which will make their way to the rest of the lineup including the GeForce GTX 870.

The GeForce GTX 870 on the other hand will be a cut down variant of the GK204 core featured on GeForce GTX 880 with some disabled SMM (Streaming Multiprocessor Maxwell) units. Its not know what specifications does the GM204 hold in general but it does feature a die size larger than its predecessor which is due to the existing 28nm process technology and the card will make use of high-frequency SKHynix H5GQ4H24MFR 0.5G clocked at 7 GHz. We will most probably be looking at a 256-bit since the memory arrangement as seen on the ES board is similar to the GeForce GTX 680 ES board and the final consumer variant. The card was shown with 8 GB GDDR5 memory which is a lot of VRAM for a reference card but we believe that the cards will ship in 4 GB variants. Aside from that, the total power consumption would be similar to Kepler around 195W but it will deliver performance on scale with some of the overclocked GeForce GTX 780 Ti’s we have seen. If the recent GeForce GTX 880 benchmark is taken for reference, we might be looking at a 20-30% performance uplift from Maxwell over GK110 which is insane and makes us wonder the performance uplift with the GM200 core which won’t ship to consumers till next year.

There have been countless leaks and rumors about Nvidia’s Second Generation Maxwell Architecture. Some of them have been pretty far fetched while others are almost confirmed. I have wanted to do an aggregate post summarizing all the authentic leaks so far for quite some time now but haven’t gotten the chance up-till now. I would also like to point out that the Majority of the Maxwell Mobility details have been spotted by the now well-known user Cloudfire (over at NotebookReview Forums) while the desktop variant leaks have multiple sources, including but limited to: Videocardz.com, SweClockers.com and Our Own.Maxwell-GTX-880-

Geforce Second Generation Maxwell Architecture – GM204, GM206 and GM200 Overview

Lets start with the desktop counterparts first. As you can probably guess, all Nvidia cores starting with the prefix GM2xx are Maxwell Second Generation cores. Now the first generation of the Maxwell Architecture was the GM107 which is present in the GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti. Now the first generation of Maxwell introduced some very impressive performance gains on the same node. However, due to some drastic change of plans behind the curtains, Nvidia seems to have abandoned the GM1xx completely; at least as far as Desktop is concerned. Currently all reports have pointed to the GM2xx Dies being developed on the 28nm node and this begs the question what is the difference between GM1xx and GM2xx. There are two possibilities, one is what I want to hear: that the GM2xx might contain ARM cores and the other which I logically know is more probable: performance gains and a better architectural revision. The cores are as follows:

Some pretty interesting information has surfaced in a drivers update at Laptopvideo2go (via Videocardz). Apparently the .inf file to the driver update that contains support for two Maxwell powered Quadro Professional GPUs has been posted, along with a new nomenclature. This means that the video industry will soon be able to utilize the power increase and efficiency offered by the Maxwell architecture and get to enjoy an unfortunate nomenclature.NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GPU

Nvidia Driver Update Reveals Quadros with Maxwell Cores – Mobility Included

Now the biggest difference between Quadro and your mainstream Nvidia cards is the double precision floating point operation per cycle ratio. For Quadro variants this number is 1. Which means the card can process 1 double precision floating point operation per cycle per core (which is a 1/2 ratio). In sharp contrast a Fermi’s double precision floating point performance (aka FP64) is 1/8th of FP32 ( Single Precision). A Kepler 780′s FP64 performance is 1/16 of FP32 and finally a Maxwell 750′s FP64 is 1/32 of FP32. I am sure you can see a trend here. Basically if you want that sweet 1 to 2 ratio, you are going to have to pay the premium and quite a big one at that. As you can imagine, a Maxwell core inside a professional GPU will make quite a performance jump. VC managed to locate the IDs of the GPUs and alot them to the correct nomenclature:

[Rumor] Something very interesting cropped up on the forums of NoteBook Review (via User800). Basically somebody posted an alleged screen-shot of an Nvidia GPU with the name blurred out. The authenticity of this picture is not verifiable, but to the casual inspection it doesn’t appear doctored. The benchmark run appears to be of the Maxwell Flagship GTX 880. Maxwell-GTX-880-

Maxwell GTX 880 Gets Alleged 3dMark Fire Strike Benchmarks – Impressive Results

If you look very closely at the picture you can barely make out the “GT 8″. If you look even more closely, you can spot one half of the second 8 following the first. So the alleged benchmark run is clearly of a GTX 880. Now some users in the forum were commenting on whether this could be the mobile variant of the GTX 880. Well, I think, there is a reason the original user so conveniently put in the CPUZ shot, something that wasn’t really required. So that we can readily deduce it as a desktop variant. The i7 4770k is the Haswell LGA 1150 CPU and is most certainly not found in any notebook. There is a 0.1% chance that the mobile variant was being tested but I think we can safely ignore that possibility.

NVIDIA SHield logo
Hardware

NVIDIA has posted a new teaser on their official site which hints at the announcement of an upcoming product which sources have confirmed to be the Tegra K1 powered Shield Tablet. But while we wait to see a glimpse of the new tablet, Videocardz has managed to reveal the official presentation of the upcoming tablet which will be launching on 29th July in the US market.NVIDIA Shield Tablet

Image Credits: Videocardz!

NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 Powered Shield Tablet Launches on 29th July

While the announcement takes place on 22nd July, the Tegra K1 powered Shield tablet won’t hit the market until 29th July in the US/Canada market followed by Europe launch in August 14th and availability will be expanded to more regions in Fall 2014. The Shield tablet will be available in two variants, a 16 GB WiFi model which will retail at $299 US and a 32 GB LTE model which will retail at $399 US. The Shield tablet will also come with additional accessories such as a wireless shield controller and a shield cover which will retail for $59 and $39 respectively.

Coming to the specifications, the Shield tablet is impressive considering it features the Tegra K1 SOC which was unveiled by NVIDIA at CES 2014. From a technical perspective, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet boasts the Tegra K1 SOC with 192 Kepler GPU cores and a 2.2 GHz Quad Core Cortex A15 CPU. This along with 2 GB memory offers better performance than the competitors in the same price range. For connectivity, NVIDIA Shield Tablet offers Wi-FI + LTE on the 32 GB variant which is priced at $399 US while the $299 variant will only feature Wi-Fi connectivity.

AMD logo
Hardware

During the Q2 financial conference call, AMD’s SVP and COO, Lisa Su, assured that their company will out 20nm products next year followed by 16nm FinFET later on. While there have been rumors that AMD might introduce 20nm products in late 2014, I believe that this statement is an end to all those reports since AMD’s entire lineup is to stick with the current 28nm process node this year.AMD 20nm

AMD Assures 20nm Products in 2015 – 16nm FinFET Later On

In Q1 2014, AMD forwarded the same statement that their graphics and semi-custom business products will both stick with 28nm. We have seen several 28nm products across AMD graphics and processors designs which include the Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 series for graphics while Steamroller, Jaguar powering AMD’s processors and accelerated processing units were also based on 28nm.

“We (AMD) will be shipping products in 20 nanometre next year and as we move forward obviously a FinFET is also important,” Lisa Su (Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at AMD) via Fudzilla

This news is interesting for the moment since AMD is on the verge to introduce new graphics processing units for the consumer industry. These include the Tonga, Iceland and Maui which are reportedly launching in Q3 and Q4 2014. So we can more or less confirm that all three of these chips will feature the existing 28nm process design while their replacements which are now believed to arrive 2015 will be based on 20nm. The same goes for AMD’s upcoming semi-custom APUs which are part of AMD’s Skybridge initiative which allows pin-to-pin compatibility for x86 and ARM based processors. The Cambridge APU will feature this technology leveraging the efficiency while the K12 ARM core which is a 64-bit ARM custom designed core will use 16nm FinFET technology. It should be noted that AMD also has a true x86 architecture in development to feed high-performance needs which should not be expected prior to 2016-2017 so we may see it based on a smaller node.

After a long wait, we have finally received the first authentic confirmation of the Nvidia Flagship GPUs set to release in 2014. To be clear, we are definitely not looking at 20nm GPUs, instead its the same 28nm node with the advanced Second Generation Maxwell Architecture. The source of the leak is the insanely reliable Sweclockers.com.Maxwell-GTX-880-

Nvidia Maxwell GTX 880 and GTX 870 on the 28nm Node Landing in November

We had previously received estimation from Sweclockers of an expected release date of Oct/Nov but now they have confirmed it. This is big news people. This means that we are not going to be skipping the year 2014 entirely after all and will be receiving a new performance class form Nvidia based on the 28nm Maxwell. We have already seen the engineering sample of the Maxwell GTX 880 and this more or less confirms that we are going to be seeing leaked benchmarks very very soon. The core that will be housed is the GM204 circuit which will be used in the highest end GPU released (Geforce GTX 880). Now since reports indicate that Nvidia has completely scrapped the GM100 chips, we are looking at second generation Maxwell Architecture.

NVIDIA Logo
Gadgets

Valve recently announced that the launch of it’s upcoming Steam Machine had been delayed. We should now expect the Steam Machine to be with us sometime around 2015. All Steam Machines will run on the Steam OS which is an open source Linux based operating system. Hardware configurations of the prototypes sent to users include Intel’s Core i7 and i5 processors coupled with 3 GB of GDDR5 RAM. They also include Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan, GeForce GTX 780, GeForce GTX 760 and GeForce GTX 660. Well, now BBC news is reporting that Nvidia itself has a direct competitor lined up for Valve’s Steam Machine project. The new gaming device will be able to connect directly with PCs to supplement it’s own processing power. The device is expected to be a Shield follow up with a different form factor.

ProjectShieldBorderlands2

Nvidia’s New Device To Focus On The Living Room – Be A Shield Follow Up With Different Form Factor

According to BBC, Nvidia’s new device is to be a Shield follow up. It will reportedly focus on the living room, which will make it a direct competitor to Valve’s Steam Machine project. The new Nvidia device will be able to stream games directly from PCs. These will of course be PCs which will be able to support the Nvidia GeForce Experience. The device features an HDMI output, and according to the BBC, it includes the ability to “also stream PC games”, thus implying that it also has a screen.

The device will also come featuring Nvidia’s Tegra K1 SoC. The Tegra K1 includes an ARM powered CPU and a 192 Core GPU. This is another similarity with the rumored Shield tablet. In addition, the launch of this device might be Nvidia’s way of encouraging other manufacturers to try the Tegra K1. Currently, the Tergra K1 is used in a limited number of device, despite being an impressive piece of hardware.

The folks over at Digital Storm have revealed an in-depth benchmark analysis of the Tegra K1 SoC and the results are quite impressive, atleast as far as the graphics side is concerned. The compute side on the other hand is fairly mediocre and is just ahead of the competition. However since the up side of the Tegra K1 is the gaming capability and 64Bit support, the benchmarks can be taken very positively overall.NVIDIA Tegra K1

Tegra K1′s Gaming Benchmarks Blow Away Competition – CPU Performance, Not So Much

Alright so the Tegra K1 tested is housed inside the Xiaomi Mi Pad so we are looking at a real world scenario with constrained TDP and clocks. This means that the results we see here are very much indicative of the final product to be used in tablets and we can expect a slight increase in performance for devices like the Shield 2 and the Tegra K1 VCM. The gaming result is very impressive and if you couple this with the Unreal Engine 4 Compatibility demoed earlier you have a very nice combo. The 64Bit K1 is the only chip that currently supports the Unreal Engine 4 Full Desktop Render in conjunction with AEP (Android Extension Pack). This makes the Tegra K1 a very special chip indeed. Although it is only a matter of time before the compatibility is added to rival counterparts as well, until that happens, the soc has an advantage. Anyways, enough of the preliminaries, here are the benchmark themselves:

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Hardware

It looks like Zauba.com has become a pretty good source to spot graphics processing units as the shipping site has revealed several NVIDIA GPUs over the last few months. This has happened once again as 3DCenter was able to find a shipping manifest of NVIDIA’s upcoming flagship GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU which will hit the consumer market next year.GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU

NVIDIA’s Flagship GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU Spotted

So what makes this spotting so special? There are no images, no specifications, no assurance or whatsoever that this might be true but recent leaks such as the GM204 PCB reveal and the codenames matched earlier listings on the site which makes these listings somewhat believable if not entirely true. The GM200 chip mentioned in the shipping list originated from Taiwan where it was manufactured and will be discharged in Banglore, India. The sample was dispatched on 8th July 2014 which means that the GM200 GPU is already in-works but will take some time to reach mass production before it begins shipment to market. The GM200 GPU is codenamed as GM200-INT0-A1 which means this is the first revision of the core and we may see newer revisions (B1) in the future but for now the A1 revisions is what will be featured on graphics cards for servers and consumers.

While the GM204 chip which was revealed a while back is bigger than its GK104 predecessor, it’s still a bit small compared to GK110. Its hard to tell if the GM200 GPU will be larger or equivalent in size as compared to GK110, its last generation Kepler equivalent but from what we have seen, it will be a huge die returning to the legacy of the big die sizes which NVIDIA has been known for but will be extremely power efficient and house several more cores. The chip is planned for launch in 2015 which would give ample time for 20nm production through TSMC but previous reports show that NVIDIA might ditch 20nm in favor of 16nm FinFET so that could be a possibility but will result in a longer delay period. From what little details we can gather, TSMC will commence volume production of 16nm FinFET+ nodes in Q1 2015 which would mean a Q2/Q3 2015 time for GM200 GPUs to appear on the new process or they could move the launch a bit earlier by sticking with 20nm which is already under production since Q1 2014 but prioritized for Apple till Q2 2014 which is over now.

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Hardware

An interesting article has been written by Videocardz which points out that NVIDIA might be preparing four GM204 GPU SKUs for their next generation GeForce Maxwell graphics cards. NVIDIA’s GeForce Maxwell line graphics cards which will feature the GM204 GPU such as the one which was recently leaked is reported to launch in the next few months but the GM204 GPU featured on the graphics card might not be the only one of the entire GeForce Maxwell stack.NVIDIA GM204 GPU

NVIDIA GeForce Maxwell Lineup To Feature Four GM204 GPU SKUs

If we take a look back at things NVIDIA did with Kepler, the report might actually be valid considering NVIDIA’s GeForce 600 series has three GK104 (GeForce Kepler) based GPUs for the GeForce GTX 680, GeForce GTX 670, GeForce GTX 660 Ti and two GK114 (GeForce Kepler Revision) GPUs for the GeForce 700 series cards including the GeForce GTX 770 and GeForce GTX 760. Based on the 28nm Kepler architecture, the GK104 has spanned quite some time as NVIDIA’s top-end to mainstream chip in the market before being replaced by the faster GK110 graphics processor which was unleashed with the GeForce GTX Titan graphics card back in February 2013.

According to the source and as we previously know, the GM204 is part of the second generation Maxwell core architecture which will offer some architectural and efficiency improvements over the first generation Maxwell core which is currently available on the GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GeForce GTX 750 graphics cards. The GM107 which is obviously an entry level part should not be compared to the more enhanced GM204 core but the core architecture changes will be added to the design while keeping the same DNA offering an extremely power efficient design and more performance per watt than the current Kepler generation cards. The GM204 will power the GeForce GTX 880 which has been leaked in engineering state earlier featuring 8 GB GDDR5 memory and some other improvements which we can’t really decrypt at the moment but in addition to that, there would be other GM204 GPUs which will be integrated in cards aside the GeForce GTX 880 just like the cut down GK104 GPUs on GeForce GTX 670, GeForce GTX 760 and GeForce GTX 660 Ti. The four models will include the following:

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Hardware

NVIDIA is quietly working on the GeForce 800 series graphics card which will replace the GeForce 700 series cards and feature the latest Maxwell graphics processing unit. While there have been hints that the GeForce GTX 880 ( the flagship GeForce 800 series card) will launch in Q4 2014, it looks like GamerSky, a Chinese website has leaked the first engineering sample of the GeForce GTX 880 PCB which gives us an early glimpse of what to expect from NVIDIA’s upcoming flagship component.NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 ES Board_1

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 “Maxwell” Engineering Sample Analysis

For starters, the GeForce GTX 880 PCB we are currently looking at is in ES phase and as stated by the source, the GeForce Maxwell core is labeled “1421A1″ which is the A1 revision so this is a very early sample, prepared in the month of May (19-25) or the first 21 weeks of 2014. Its possible that we might see variations in the final revision that will use A2 and B1 revisions on the GeForce cards but the most important thing hasn’t been mentioned that whether or not the card features a GM204 core or a GM210 core. But before we go into details regarding what core is featured on the PCB, let’s take a journey in the past and tell you (our readers) why we believe this is a very concrete leak.

If you had been our readers since a long time, you would know that the GeForce GTX 680 PCB which was also leaked almost two years ago had a very similar design scheme. The GeForce GTX 680′s PCB was also in ES phase and featured a green PCB and the same memory configuration as the one on the leaked PCB of the Maxwell card. Compared to the GeForce GTX Titan and 780 Ti PCB, the memory configuration is less dense since the cards make use of a lower memory bus hence the similar arrangement of 8 memory chips on the front and 8 memory chips on the back which amount to a total of 16 memory chips on the entire PCB. The GeForce GTX 680 did feature only 8 memory chips on the front but NVIDIA making a big move on the GeForce GTX 880, equipping it with 8 GB GDDR5 memory was quite unexpected but was rumored earlier. The memory chips in specific are the SKHynix H5GQ4H24MFR 0.5GB which are rated to operate at 7 GHz effective clock speed, similar to many NVIDIA Kepler based cards which would be a nice improvement over the current generation.

Our chinese friends over at Mydrivers have just unveiled pictures of the Maxwell flagship Geforce GTX 880. The pictures clearly show the die which has been manufactured by TSMC, and not only that it shows the TDP as well as other minute details. So enjoy this very significant (and the first real leak) of the possible GTX 880 Maxwell Flagship.

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Nvidia Maxwell Flagship Geforce GTX 880 Spotted – 375W of TDP and 8GB of Memory

Alright first thing is first. You can clearly see 8 Hynix memory chips on the picture so we are looking at 8GB of vram and possibly 16GB of vram for professional counterparts. The code 1421A1 can be seen clearly which means that its i s the A1 revision of the die which was manufactured in the first 21 weeks of 2014, which means May 19-25. Basically you are looking at a completely fresh die that has been rolled from TSMC (notice the word Taiwan? that means it is TSMC). We can also see 1 Eight Pin and 2 Six Pin Connectors which amounts to a grand total of  of 375W (PCI-e: 75W, 2x6Pin: 75Wx2 and 8 Pin: 150W). Actually 2 Eight pin power connectors can achieve the same load but this is done to increase stability and take of most of the load from the PCI-E. So we could see TDP of around 300-375W.



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