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Nvidia Volta: Why you don't need to worry about the next-gen GPU right now

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 1

Everything you need to know about Nvidia Volta

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?

With Nvidia’s popular 10-series graphics card line-up complete, attention has turned to what’s next. Because rumour mongers love to monger rumours.

We’re here to clear up the spurious rumours and give you what you need to know about Volta as of right now.

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.

Some speculation currently places Volta as the brains behind the brawn of next-gen GTX 20-series cards, such as the currently-fictional GTX 2080. Others have said the 20-series will simply be a refresh (minor update) of the current Pascal architecture.

In short, only Nvidia really knows what’s going on and until some proper, solid information comes from a reliable source, there’s not much else to add.

Should I wait to buy a new graphics card?

This is an important question, and is why we decided to write this now.

The most recent rumours found in various places online point to new Nvidia graphics cards launching in the third quarter of this year.

Does that mean the Nvidia Volta release date will be in 2017? Maybe not.

Related: Best graphics cards

Some are reporting this launch as being Volta, while others say it’s going to be the aforementioned Pascal refresh. To not know such basic information at this point tells you how far off the next launch really is, as many of the Volta rumours you'll find on the web don't match up with each other.

In other words, don’t let talk of Volta stop you from buying a new graphics card for your PC right now – if you were always waiting for the next generation of GPUs before buying, you’d never end up buying one.

We know so little about Volta and rumours vary so wildly, it might not appear until well into next year at the earliest. Even if Nvidia does decide to do a Pascal refresh this year, the performance differences won’t make a 10-series Nvidia GPU obsolete.

Nvidia Volta specs and technology

This is where things get technical and woolly.

We have no information on specifications whatsoever, aside from a couple of pieces of technology. Initially, it appeared that Volta would be based on a fabrication process (the way in which the chip is manufactured) of 10nm (nanonmetres) in size.

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.

However, other rumours point to Volta being shifted to a slightly larger – and thereby easier – fabrication process of 12nm. This is according to Taiwan’s Commercial Times via Tech Report. As the publication points out, simply rating a GPU based on process size is a bit of a non-science since other factors come into play.

Aside from that, Nvidia apparently is looking to incorporate high-bandwidth memory (already found in high-end datacentre GPUs) into Volta GPUs. But that’s about it.

We’re going to keep this article updated as new rumours arrive, so bookmark this page and stay tuned to TrustedReviews.

Judge_Chip

May 5, 2017, 1:30 pm

If you're in looking to buy a GPU now there is little reason to wait to 3/4 more months for a gaming Volta when Pascal 1070/1080 and King of the GPU Hill 1080Ti are here now. The most future proof would of course be the the 1080Ti and there are so many factory OCed ones to chose from but factory OCed 1070 and 1080 are still a Big bang bang for your GPU buck. If you're rocking a Maxwell 980Ti or Pascal 1070 now the 1080Ti still make sense and gives you the option to skip gaming Volta and wait for Big Chip Volta 2080 Ti comes out next year or Skip Volta entirely, the 1080Ti is that powerful.

Cem P.

May 31, 2017, 11:50 am

Future proofing does not apply when you consider buying tech. Waiting 3-4 months is a smart decision considering the next gtx **70 will be as powerful as a gtx 1080Ti with better efficiency and lower cost.

Pi Free

May 31, 2017, 3:54 pm

That's a permament scenario. There's always a better card in pipeline ready to be published when the old ones are milked out. I think the 1080 Ti will do just fine for the next 2-3 years and what's going to be released (GPU-wise) in the meantime is irrelevant.

nopenopeopnopeop

June 9, 2017, 11:19 am

not when you are talking future proof, thats not future proof, thats just buying expensive hardware and hoping it doesnt become outdated. future proof is like buying a 460 card and it lasting 6 years because consoles stagnate hardware so god damn much

Alexander Frutkin

June 11, 2017, 10:05 pm

ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy and btw my gtx 1060 6gb is fine. I can stand *gasp* anything other than 60 fps at ultra.

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