High End Flagship Core Maxwell GM200 on the 20nm Node Spotted in Shipping Data
Alright, when I was writing my previous editorial, I actually found something else too, namely the GM200 Core, in the shipping data. But since that warranted a post of its own, I refrained from mentioning it there. So heres the thing, The GM200 Core, or the ultra-high-end Maxwell Core (almost certainly 20nm), has been spotted in transit.
20nm Maxwell GM200 High End Core Spotted in Import Data
Now the GM200 is almost certainly 20nm, because it is meant to replace the GK110 and offer massive gains in performance. Before you ask me why I spend my spare time looking at shipping data, I want you to take a look at the shipping entry of the Maxwell GM200 given below. Notice anything unusual ? Well I did. The value of this particular shipment is off the charts. And I mean seriously off the charts; its mind bogglingly huge. Well get to what that could mean in a moment. Now interestedly the entry is named 'GM200 CP/FTR LOADBOARD' and is dated 11th June. So it means it left for Nvidia about the same time we heard reports of TSMC beginning 20nm Volume Production. Interesting. Now there are two kind of loadboards, one that deals with cargo and one that is a type of early integrated circuit board. And I know this one is referring to the IC one. How do I know that? simple, none of the other shipping entries mention loadboards unless they are related to Integrated Circuits, meaning these guys don't explicitly mention the load board associated with cargo. Here is the entry by the way:
So what in God's green earth is up with the value? To give you a frame of reference the GM204 samples were valued at around 10 000 to 30 000 INR per unit. This one is nearly 200 times the value. Well, I think I have a reasonable theory for that. Since this is a Loadboard Circuit, this is a very very early prototype of the Maxwell GM200 core. It is quite possibly an engineering sample of the 20nm Node created on request by TSMC. It is therefore not part of volume production and bound to be super-expensive. However, this means that any product concerning this core is at the very least 8 - 12 Months Away. And I am being generous with the time frame, realistically any product with this core wont ship before Q2 2015 at the earliest.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) June 14, 2014