Nvidia Volta: Everything you need to know
(Update: May 18, 2018): More rumours are circulating about the potential release date of the next generation of Nvidia’s consumer graphics cards. Apparently the first cards should start shipping in July 2018 although, mysteriously, reports are claiming that these will be based on the ‘Turing’ platform, whose relation to Volta isn’t yet completely clear…
The Nvidia Volta is set to be the graphics card giant’s successor to its Pascal architecture, but what on Earth does that mean and why are we even talking about it?
Given that its big GPU rival AMD has just shown its hand with its high-end gaming Vega architecture, there’s no time to waste in looking at what might be coming next in 2018. First, let’s look at what Volta is before assessing its role in the world of GPUs this year.
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What is Nvidia Volta?
Volta is the code name for Nvidia’s next generation of graphics architecture. Graphics architecture is another way of describing a chip’s design; the template on which the various different products are based. Volta is the successor to Pascal, which was the codename behind 10-series GPUs ranging from the bottom-spec GTX 1050 all the way up to the GTX 1080 Ti. In contrast, Volta is expected to be the platform behind rumoured cards such as the GTX 1180 (although it could end up being branded the GTX 2080).
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Nvidia Volta release date
It’s already here! Technically, anyway. As it stands, only massive V100 servers running Volta chips have actually started shipping, and these computing behemoths bear little to no resemblance to the tiny boards you’ll be hungrily stuffing into your gaming PC in the coming months. While it tells us that the Volta rollout is well and truly underway, it doesn’t give us any solid clues about when Nvidia is going to launch a desktop GPU based on the technology.
For that we’ll have to turn to the rumour mill, which is currently claiming that the new cards, lead by the Nvidia GTX 1180, will see a release in July 2018.
These rumours come courtesy of TomsHardware, which reports that the Founders Edition models of these cards will arrive first, followed by hardware from third-party manufacturers in August or September.
However, the biggest question mark surrounding these rumours is the name. According to sources, the next generation of consumer cards will be based on the ‘Turing’ platform, rather than the ‘Volta’ platform we’ve been hearing about so far.
It’s currently unclear whether Turing is just a consumer-focussed rebrand of Volta, or whether it’s an entirely new platform. We’ll have to wait and see what Nvidia eventually officially announces.
Nvidia Volta specs
This is where things get both technical and woolly.
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We have no official information on specifications, but recently some specs have appeared on the TechPowerUp GPU database which claim to show what the successor to the GTX 1080, the GTX 1180 will be capable of.
According to these specs, the 1180 will have 3584 CUDA cores (a 40% increase over the GTX 1080), 224 TMUs (another 40% increase) and 16GB of GDDR6 RAM (a 100% increase).
Overall, this means the new card will have 13 teraflops (tflops) of computing power, which not only faster than the 1080’s 8.7 tflops, but is even faster than the Titan Xp’s 12.
The specs also suggest that the new card will be based on a 12nm fabrication process, rather than the smaller 10nm fabrication process that was originally rumoured.
The smaller the process size, the more transistors (the yes/no gates that do all the work) you can fit on a piece of silicon, which means you effectively get more powerful components without using more energy. We warned you this would be technical.
By way of comparison, 10nm is the same process size as Intel’s Cannon Lake processors.
Then again, perhaps this confusion could be to blame for the two different names floating around, Volta and Turing, which could end up having different fabrication processes. Volta could be the 12nm version, while Turing could step it down to 10nm.
Check out how all the specs compare in the table below:
|GTX 1080||GTX 1180||Increase|
|RAM||8GB (GDDR5)||16GB (GDDR6)||100%|
|FP32||8.7 TFLOPs||13 TFLOPs||49%|
We’re going to keep this article updated as new rumours arrive, so bookmark this page and stay tuned to Trusted Reviews.