NVIDIA’s GM204 Maxwell graphics cards are expected to launch very soon. From what we know we will see the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 800 Series cards by the end of the year for sure. The cards coming out this year will be based on the 28 nm process.
The GM204 will replace the entire GK104 stack that is currently out. This will be the first silicon based on the second generation Maxwell architecture. There will be at least four SKUs launched, they are as follows:
– GeForce GTX 880 Ti
– GeForce GTX 880
– GeForce GTX 870
– GeForce GTX 860
All of these cards will have a different Streaming Multiprocessor count. Rumors circulating say that the full GM204 chip will have between 15 and 20 SMs (1920 – 2560 CUDAs). The Maxwell corer is more efficient than Kepler so we will see less cores than the Kepler GK110 processor, this will be the first time that this has happened.
According to sources next year NVIDIA will “refresh” or release “B Stepping” versions of Maxwell chips. This will involve a die-shrink, but interestingly enough it will not be from 28 nm to 20 nm, but 28 nm to 16 nm! If this is true NVIDIA will be the first to make use of TSMC’s 16 nm FinFET technology. This is said to take place in mid-Q1 of next year. So there will be a 4-6 month period between Maxwell A and Maxwell B.
The thing that is unclear is if NVIDIA will simply use the new smaller chips and keep the same product names or release a new series of cards (GTX 900 series). If they do use the same names we could see products like the GTX 880 GHz Edition or adding a “5” to the name (GTX 885) and so on. That would be the only way to tell if you have a Maxwell A or Maxwell B based card.