The next generation of Nvidia graphics cards are on the horizon, and will reportedly feature the rumoured Nvidia Ampere architecture.
Speculation suggests we’ll see several new graphics cards using this architecture in 2020, including the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti.
Leaks suggest the Nvidia Ampere graphics cards will not only see enhanced performance power, but will also put a lot of focus on improving ray tracing.
A recent leak from Twitter user KittyCorgi suggests the flagship Ampere graphics card will see the performance of the new Tensor Core doubled. If true, this would potentially mean we’d see significantly better ray tracing visuals than what the RTX 2080 Ti is capable.
Read on below for everything we know about Nvidia’s rumoured next-gen graphics cards.
Related: Best Graphics Cards 2020
Nvidia Ampere release date – When will Nvidia launch RTX 3080 and RTX 3070?
Many reports suggest we’ll get our first glimpse of the Nvidia Ampere GPU at the GTC conference on the 22nd of March 2020, where Nvidia will reveal its latest roadmap.
Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, also teased a major announcement for GTC by saying, “We’ll be talking a lot more… at next month’s GTC Conference in San Jose. Come join me. You won’t be disappointed.”
However, respected industry expert Igor Wallossek (from Igor Labs) has contradicted rumours by suggesting we’re more likely to see Nvidia Ampere graphics cards arrive in August or September, around the same time as Gamescom 2020.
This would be a big disappointment considering AMD’s Big Navi graphics cards are rumoured to arrive very soon. However, if the leaks specs for Nvidia’s RTx 3080 Ti turn out to be true, then it looks like it will definitely be worth the wait.
Related: AMD Navi 2X
Nvidia Ampere price – How much will RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 cost?
There’s little word on price right now, which is no surprise considering Nvidia traditionally like to set the price last minute to undercut the competition.
A Wccftech report claims that Nvidia is looking to make the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 slightly cheaper than their Turing counterparts, in a bid to make ray tracing accelerated cards more appealing to a mass market.
With the RTX 2080 Ti graphics card currently costing over £1000, that comes as no surprise.
Hands on: Nvidia GeForce Now
Nvidia Ampere specs
The Nvidia Ampere GPUs are widely expected to feature a 7nm architecture, which is already an upgrade on the 12nm architecture found with Turing.
Further specs details are far more uncertain though. Wccftech suggests the Ampere GPUs will see more vRAM, higher clock speeds and improved power efficiency.
Other sources, including MyDrivers and Twitter account KittyCorgi, have been far more specific with the specs, but aren’t as credible a source. If they are to be believed though, the Nvidia Ampere specs could be as follows (with comparisons):
|Nvidia RTX 3080||Nvidia RTX 2080|
|Architecture||Ampere GA103||Turing TU104|
|Memory size||10/20GB G6||8GB G6|
|Nvidia RTX 3070||Nvidia RTX 2070|
|Architecture||Ampere GA104||Turing TU104|
|Memory size||8/16GB G6||8GB G6|
If these specs are accurate, then the Ampere-based graphics cards could offer a big performance boost compared to the Turing counterparts.
KittyCorgi went into even further detail regarding the potential specs by listing some key features, which can be seen below:
- INT32 Unit remains unchanged
- Double the FP32 Unit for shader proportion
- The performance of the new Tensor Core is doubled
- Enhanced L1 Data Cache for more comprehensive functions
- True architecture for RTX GAMING with all-new design RT CORE ADVANCED
Again, there’s no guarantee any of this is true, but the focus on doubling the Tensoe Core count is supported by previous rumours. It would be no surprise if Nvidia were to double down on ray tracing performance, as it’s currently the major selling point over AMD’s Radeon range.
Related: Ray tracing explained
Nvidia Ampere performance
Reports from The Next Platform suggest the upcoming Nvidia Ampere GPUs will be 70-75% faster than the current generation. This news reportedly comes from Indiana University’s vice president for information technology and chief information officer, Brad Wheeler, who suggested the Big Red 200 supercomputer will feature Nvidia’s next-gen GPU.
It’s not entirely clear what that 75% performance boost entails, as it could be referring to raw performance or specifically in regards to deep learning. It would be incredibly impressive if it’s the former that’s accurate, since Nvidia’s Turing graphics cards are currently the most powerful available to consumers.
Nvidia is also rumoured to be intensifying its efforts on ray tracing, which makes a lot of sense since both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will support the technology and likely increase the awareness and demand for the realistic light-rendering feature.
Wccftech reports that, “Ampere’s ray tracing cores will be faster, more power efficient and Ampere GPUs will have more of them as compared to Turing.”
It remains to be seen whether Ampere will actually improve the ray tracing visuals, or simply enhance the frame rate performance when the technology is activated. But with an increasing number of upcoming games confirming support for ray tracing, Nvidia already has a greater platform for success than it did with its Turing GPUs.
Nvidia will likely discuss more visual-boosting features made possible via the Ampere architecture, including improved rasterization, but we’ll have to wait until March for official details.