It has been two days since NVIDIA launched their GeForce Maxwell based GeForce 900 series graphics cards and reports are already emerging that more powerful variants might hit the market within a few month's time frame. The report is from Nordichardware who confirmed through an MSI representative on Friday during an press conference who confirmed that they will skip their Lightning cooler variant of the Maxwell graphics card in favor of higher performance chips.
MSI Skips Lightning Cooler For Current GeForce Maxwell Chip
Now this is really interesting news considering GM204 is here to stay for a while and is the current flagship card in the GeForce 900 series family. However, we know that GM204 is a chip derivative of the Kepler GK104 and Fermi GF104 family which are considered mid-tier chips however since Kepler generation, NVIDIA has managed the tune the performance of these chips to match their counterparts flagship offerings and even their own and we have seen the GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 coming out not only faster than the GeForce GTX 780 and 780 Ti but also more power efficient. So there's that but NVIDIA has a few more Maxwell chips in hand that we haven't seen yet. They have a budget-tier chip called the GM206 which might be introduced later on with the GeForce GTX 960 or budget level offerings while the true flagship chip aka the GM200 (we can't confirm whether it will be called the GM200 or GM210 but let's stick with the former for now since it did leak in the shipping manifestos a while ago) will arrive a while later.
MSI themselves are saying that their Gaming Twin Frozr V cooling is enough for the current GM204 based graphics card however the bigger and more badder Lightning GPU cooler will only be adopted for the high performance chip variants. Do note that the GM204 chip featured on the GeForce GTX 980 is a full chip, so there's no extra cores, no extra SM (Maxwell) units and no room for internal specifications changes. They can boost the clock speeds but seriously, there are custom variants which already do that and do it much better than NVIDIA's reference designs.
So here MSI starts to spill the beans (kind of) by saying that the expect to see a more powerful Maxwell model in the near future as indicated by Nordichardware.
"During a press conference on Friday came MSI with the sad news that we should not expect any Lightning model of the Geforce GTX 980 a more positive note, however, was the reason for this decision - MSI expects to see a more lavish and more powerful the Maxwell model in the near future. An interesting statement when MSI launched Lightning models of both GeForce GTX 770 and GTX 780th
Representatives of MSI said that they received no confirmatory information from Nvidia regarding upcoming GPUs, but that one is expecting a Geforce GTX 980 Ti or GTX 990 model in the coming months." via Nordic
MSI says that they think that NVIDIA may launch a GeForce GTX 980 Ti or GeForce GTX 990 graphics card on the high-performance core. While its possible, I personally believe that NVIDIA might introduce a Titan esque naming or actually go with the one's quoted above. The GeForce GTX 990 will probably be reserved for the dual chip offering but considering a GeForce GTX 980 is almost as equal as the GTX 690 in some cases, if the GM200 variant does come close to Titan Z in terms of performance than we can consider a heavy marketing on that card by NVIDIA. Regardless of that, AMD has news cards coming and even if they do turn out to be faster than the current Maxwell cards, then NVIDIA will have an answer to them in the form of a GTX 990 or GTX 980 Ti. Let's all hope that it doesn't stick with Titan like price model of $999 US or $2999 US of Titan Z.