Nvidia’s undeniably had an amazing year, launching some of its best graphics cards to date, growing GeForce Now and making waves across the industry by announcing its intention to buy Arm – the firm responsible for the background technology used in pretty much every mobile phone CPU.
In fact, the firm has had such a busy 12 months you may be wondering what it could possibly have planned next year. Here to help we’ve created this guide detailing what our team of tech experts expect to see from Nvidia in 2021.
1. Ampere laptops
Ampere is Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture. It launched on the firm’s latest RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards, which all hold a place in our current best GPU guide, and for good reason.
During testing we found the cards offered the biggest generational performance leap we’ve seen since Nvidia jumped from Maxwell to Pascal many moons ago. Specifically, we found the new Ampere cards managed to claim the title of the first GPUs capable of ray tracing gaming in 4K at frame rates over 60fps. This makes them absolute powerhouses that can outperform the AMD-powered, next-generation PS5 and Xbox Series X when it comes to graphical grunt.
Which is why we’re pleased to hear rumblings that the firm plans to release Max Q design versions of the cards for use in laptops very early in 2021. Max Q design GPUs are Nvidia cards designed for use in thin lightweight notebooks and gaming laptops from the likes of Razer.
If rumblings of Nvidia’s Ampere plans are accurate this could lead to a new wave of super powered gaming laptops and ultrabooks, which we here at Trusted Reviews are all for.
Related: Best GPU
2. Super 5nm GPUs
Laptop GPUs are one of many rumours about Nvidia’s 2021 graphics card plans. We’ve also seen consistent rumblings of a new RTX 3080 Ti card being set for release early next year. This sounds odd considering the fact the regular 3080 only launched late in 2020, but it does kind of make sense given the current shape of the GPU market.
AMD’s flagship RX 6900 XT currently sits between the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, retailing for around $1000. Nvidia has a track record for releasing direct rivals to every GPU it can, so it would make sense to have a ‘Ti’ variant of the 3080.
Later down the line there were also rumours – though none we’d take too seriously – that the firm has a fresh wave 5nm cards in the works. Tech speak aside, the smaller Die size would on paper make the cards more efficient, though how much so would depend on other details that aren’t currently known.
3. GeForce Now expansion
During an interview with Trusted Reviews earlier in 2020, Nvidia Vice President and General Manager of GeForce Now cloud gaming Phil Eisler made clear the firm has big plans for its game streaming service.
For those out of the know, GeForce Now is currently one of Trusted Reviews’ favourite streaming services. It lets gamers stream titles from their PC libraries over the cloud. It’s like Google Stadia, but without the need to rebuy the games if you already own them.
In the interview Eisler hinted at everything from the addition of ray tracing and HDR support to the possibility of 8K resolutions. If any of these pan out that would make games running GeForce Now look way prettier and be a huge step for the service.
4. Nvidia will own ARM
Industry rumours surfaced that Nvidia was in advanced talks to buy Arm Ltd. in July. This may sound like dull news to non-techies, but it’s actually one of the biggest developments in the world of tech to happen in quite some time.
This is because, while it may not be a household name, Arm is a huge company that provides tech to pretty much every mobile chip maker, including Qualcomm and Apple. This is a key reason most analysts didn’t bat an eyelid when Nvidia confirmed its intention to pay $40bn for ARM later in September.
The deal’s not closed yet, but if Nvidia’s plans pan out and the acquisition completes in 2021 then there’s going to be huge ramifications across the entire tech industry.