Here's what we know and what we expect from the Nvidia Ampere GPUs
Nvidia’s Ampere architecture will be the next major upgrade for GPUs from Team Green and will find its way into the upcoming GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3080, RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 graphics cards. Recently, in it’s Super Spring laptops announcement, Nvidia revealed that “15 million RTX GPUs” have been sold. The RTX 3080, RTX 3070, etc. (which is what we’re calling them for now) need to provide not just better performance in games using traditional rendering techniques, but a dramatic increase in ray tracing performance would open the doors to doing more RT effects without tanking performance.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and Ampere At A Glance:

  • Up to 128 SMs / 8192 GPU cores (for RTX 3080 Ti)
  • Nvidia’s first 7nm part should be much more efficient than Turing
  • Release Date: We expect to see Ampere in 2020, probably fall
  • Price: RTX 3080 likely to cost around $699-$799 (but we hope it’s lower)

The only expectation is that it won’t be a simple die shrink of Turing from 12nm to 7nm. Beyond that, there are many things Nvidia can potentially do to make the RTX 3080 and other Ampere GPUs better.
Last October and November, multiple ‘unknown’ Nvidia GPUs appeared on Geekbench with some potentially impressive performance figures. That shows a 124 SM configuration, which if Nvidia keeps with the same 64 CUDA cores per SM would yield 7936 CUDA cores. Nvidia’s GPCs (Graphics Processing Cluster), the core building block of its GPUs, usually has 8 to 12 SMs, but 124 doesn’t divide up nicely. So the full fat Ampere GPU could end up packing up to 8192 CUDA cores. Stepping down to a more likely RTX 3080 chip, which rumors suggest will be called GA103, we have a potential 72 SM configuration with anywhere from 8 to 12 GB of VRAM, though it could potentially go as low as 64 or as high as 80 SMs.For now, we’re guessing Nvidia will support up to 12GB with GA103 and with the 3070 ‘only’ getting 8GB. We’ve been referring to the upcoming Ampere GPUs as RTX 3080 Ti, 3080, 3070, and 3060 so far, and all indications are that Nvidia will stick with a familiar pattern for the coming GPUs.We fully expected to hear at least something at GTC 2020 in March. But then COVID-19 happened, GDC and GTC were both canceled, production in all over the world dropped, and shipping became far more difficult. Delays are certainly happening, but hopefully, all of this means a delay from spring or summer 2020 to fall 2020, rather than having Ampere slip into 2021. The fastest GPU comes out first, then the step-down, then another step-down. But when the RTX 3080 and Ampere launch, there’s a good chance AMD will also have Big Navi / RDNA 2 / Navi 2x parts available. Well, except on the RTX 3080 Ti and Titan cards, which are probably going to be stupidly expensive.


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