Nvidia’s Maxwell process choice

Analysis: 28nm versus 20nm in 2014

nvidia logo 87x19 Nvidias Maxwell process choiceThe first few scraps of information about Nvidia’s Maxwell generation are coming out, and they have some really serious implications. The news itself is not that earth shattering, but it brings sharper focus to TSMC’s 20nm process.

First the news. Maxwell is the generation of Nvidia GPUs following the current Keplers, and Kepler still has a refresh called GK114 coming out in the spring of 2013. Maxwell is due after that, historically a fall schedule in Q4/2013, but current release schedules seem to indicate that the entire industry has slipped to spring releases. That means Q1/2014 is much more likely as a release date.

So what’s the news? Nvidia is internally hoping for an 80% performance increase, said to be performance per watt. While this seems a bit unlikely, especially in light of the claims for GK114 vs where it ended up, at least you know the range they are aiming for. The more interesting news is that the initial Maxwell parts will be made on TSMC’s 28nm process, not 20nm as is widely rumored.

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