NVIDIA Delaying Maxwell?
NVIDIA’s GTX 750 Ti stirred the pot when it released a bit ago. Naturally, everyone became excited about new, high end GPUs releasing with Maxwell architecture because if a low power chip could perform so well, how much better would the high power chips perform? Unfortunately, what seemed to be just around the corner has been delayed until the end of this year, or possibly the beginning of next year. NVIDIA has their reasons, but what if there is something not being told in why Maxwell is being delayed?
Syed Muhammad Usman Pirzada writes, “Basically 20nm has already begun at TSMC, but apparently the process is not yet ready for full fledged GPU core production.” What this sounds like is that production is ready, but isn’t ready and that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s true that technicalities can stop full scale production, but nevertheless, this statement needed some further investigation.
The problem with power efficiency is in the term itself. High end GPUs need to be powerful, then power efficient. A quick glance at PassMark’s video card chart shows that while Maxwell GPUs (GTX 750 Ti and GeForce 880M) are better than their predecessors (GTX 650 Ti Boost and GeForce 780M), they aren’t necessarily blowing the doors off the previous gen either. Performance gains could be lower than expected, needing more designing before a relase. The fact that NVIDIA has invested in more Kepler technology for their latest Titan Z release, even though Maxwell would be the perfect choice for dual GPU cards, helps confirm this suspicion.
On the other hand, NVIDIA doesn’t seem like the kind of company to let out a sub par release. It’s possible that there is more profitability and performance in skipping the 20nm manufacturing process and going straight for the 16nm one. This would explain why TSMC began 20nm, but decided it wasn’t ready for full production. So while Maxwell is sure to be worth the wait, it looks like we’re stuck with the 700 series GPUs for a ways to come. If you already have a 600 or 700 series card, then waiting for Maxwell isn’t a big deal, but if your video card is starting to fall behind, it might be worth picking up a new card now rather than waiting for Maxwell to finally arrive.