Kepler has arrived ... sort of

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2011 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GK117, GK107

The news on the street is that two chips from NVIDIA's Kepler lineup should be arriving relatively soon, but don't get too excited.  The GK117 will be a hybrid Fermi/Kepler card, not a GPU but perhaps a powerful addition to any render farm or other application which can benefit the new architecture.  It could also just be a test chip the NVIDIA created to test the integration capabilities of the two architectures.  The GK107 seems to likely be a mobile part, something SemiAccurate dismisses quickly as it will have to compete with the integrated GPUs present in both AMD and Intel mobile chips. 

There is no sign of the Kepler everyone is waiting for, the GPU that will power NVIDIA's next generation of graphics cards.  Why haven't we seen any sign of it yet?  Drop by SemiAccurate for speculation on some of the possible reasons.

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"Nvidia has two Kepler parts taped out and likely back in house by now. They are however, not the fire-breathing big chips you would expect.

Sources tell SemiAccurate that the first Kepler chips taped out about three months after the first 28nm Fermi shrink taped out. If you remember when we exclusively told you about the dates on those about a month ago, now there are a few more details to add."

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Source: SemiAccurate

We now know about NVIDIA's New Years presents

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2011 - 11:09 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, fermi, kepler, leak

There is good news and bad news out of SemiAccurate about NVIDIA today.  The bad news is that the chips are all Fermi, they have simply been shrunk to 28nm from 40nm.  That makes the idea of mobile variants arriving first very probable with the respectably low TDP shown on the leaked chart.  There at the bottom, in the row with the most question marks are the higher powered chips.   The good news is that the list is incomplete, there is more in store for consumers in the same time frame.  They will likely be 40nm but they will definitely not be Kepler chips.

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"What does Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) have coming up for the post-Christmas GPU line? You have heard a lot about the 28nm parts, and here is what you will be seeing.

The short story is this, Nvidia is putting out a bunch of Fermi shrinks on 28nm, and you will likely see the mobile variants first. They are as follows, with some information a bit blurred to protect the exact sub-species of mole involved."

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Source: SemiAccurate

As expected NVIDIA's next generation GPU release schedule was a bit optimistic

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, amd, 28nm, kepler, maxwell

TSMC's 28nm wafer yields are having a negative effect on NVIDIA's scheduled release of their next generation of GPUs, no matter what the PR coming out of NVIDIA might suggest.  That news is coming from graphics card manufacturers who were hoping to release cards but have since seen NVIDIA's scheduled releases delayed by a year.  While it may be true that TSMC is partly to blame for the delay there is also talk about the chips performance being lower than was expected and is needed to challenge AMD.  The news for NVIDIA gets even worse as DigiTimes confirms that AMD is still on schedule with it's 28nm chips.  This may seem like a bit of deja vu, as we saw similar production problems from TSMC's initial 40nm chips; though that effected both major GPU makers more or less equally.

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"Despite Nvidia CEO Huang Jen-hsun previously saying that the company is set to announce its new 28nm GPU architecture at the end of 2011 and 22/20nm in 2013, sources from graphics card makers have pointed out that Nvidia has already adjusted its roadmap and delayed 28nm Kepler and 22/20nm Maxwell to 2012 and 2014.

The sources believe that the delay is due to unsatisfactory yield rates of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) 28nm process as well as lower-than-expected performance of Kepler.

TSMC originally expected its 28nm capacity at Fab15 to be available in the fourth quarter of 2011 and was set to start pilot production for its 20nm process technology in the third quarter of 2012.

However, TSMC's other major client Qualcomm, currently, still has not yet adjusted its 28nm process schedule and is set to launch three new products, 8960. 8270 and 8260A using dual-core Krait architecture in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile, AMD will follow its original schedule and enter the 28nm era in the first half of 2012. The company's next-generation graphics chips Southern Island as well as Krishna and Wichita processors, which will replace the existing Ontraio and Zacate processors, and will all adopt a 28nm process from TSMC."

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Source: DigiTimes

Always someone to ruin the parade, NVIDIA's response to AMD's Southern Island news

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2011 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, parade, nvidia, kepler, fermi, amd

As is common in the industry, when one company releases news their competitors have to do something to distract people.  Since in this case it was AMD's announcement of the Southern Islands release, it is NVIDIA who feels the need to hold a competing spectacle.  In this case it was news that their new Fermi based 28nm Kepler GPU has taped out ... maybe.  In this particular scenario we have an intentional leak from NVIDIA which was light on details and heavy on spin.  SemiAccurate takes a long look at some of NVIDIA's claims, from the doubling of transistors with no cost in TDP to the probable difference between Tesla branded Fermi and GeForce branded Fermi cards to NVIDIA's claims that switching from 40nm to 28nm is hard and that it is all TSMC's fault. 

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"When SemiAccurate announced that AMD (NYSE:AMD) was aiming for September with Southern Islands (SI), you could almost set your watch to the Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) response. If you are new to the PR game, you will probably scratch your head wondering what we mean by Nvidia response, officially there is silence, but there definitely was a response."

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Source: SemiAccurate