Nvidia’s Pascal ‘GP100 GPU’ Reportedly Taped Out on TSMC 16nm Node – ‘Big’ Pascal and GP104 Arriving Q2 2016


The age of the 28nm GPUs is finally drawing to a close and while the faithful node lasted for much longer than originally anticipated, 16nm GPUs are finally on the horizon. The first inkling comes from a report by Beyond3D that the GP100 chip (First Generation Pascal Flagship Chip) has taped out on the 16nm FinFET+ node of TSMC. They also list that GPUs are expected by the second quarter of 2016.

Nvidia Pascal Test Vehicle With 2.5D Stacked HBMThe prototype Pascal GPU with the interposer and HBMs visible @Nvidia Public Domain

Nvidia's next generation pascal GP100 and GP104 chips with HBM arriving late second quarter of 2016

The GP100 chip is ofcourse the 'big' Pascal chip. Nvidia's nomenclature is as follows: the 'G' denotes the chip being a GPU while while the the second letter denotes the architecture, Pascal in this case. The first digit indicates the generation of the chip while as the remaining two indicate the relative performance of the lineup in an inverted order, with 00 being the highest, 04 being immediately below and so forth. Since the GX X04 chip is usually less powerful, it is also the first to be expected in the consumer side. However, if Beyond3D is right, then this might not be the case.

The report states that the GP100 'big' pascal chip will hit the professional market first, giving time for green to roll out the GP104 chip to the mainstream consumer segment (followed by GP100 at a later date).  The GM200 taped out in June and hit the shelves in March. That is a total time of approximately 9 months. The GM204 on the other hand took only five months to hit the shelves from its tape out date. At this schedule we can tentatively expect the Pascal architecture GPUs next year in late second quarter. The GP100 chip will also have HBM2 memory, which unlike the HBM1 specification can extend upto 32 GB of total vRAM size.

The report states that the gaming edition of the GP100 will be limited to 16GB of vRAM (which frankly is pretty effing huge considering the current standards. NVLink will also be supported for professional end users. While the node will shift downwards, due to the relative immaturity of the 16nm process I wouldn't expect chips to exceed 550mm² initially. That means you are looking at around 5000-6000 CUDA cores. With the architecture improvement and and the process upgrade - an improvement of around 50 - 80% is on the cards depending on how well Nvidia handles it. There isn't a single GPU card in existence that can handle 4K@60fps on its own. First or second generation Pascal however, should most definitely be able to hit the mark with the technological upgrades heading its way.