With 2012 fast approaching, more and more juicy details of next-gen graphics cards are trickling in. Today’s news comes from the green camp where ExpertsPC.com and 4Gamer.net have put together a little table of what Kepler’s roadmap would look like. We all know by now that Nvidia’s upcoming graphics cards will be based on the new 28nm fabrication process from TSMC. Both companies (AMD being the other) have ditched the 32nm process and gone from 45nm to 28nm. The new piece of information is that Kepler will support PCIE Gen 3 and DirectX 11.1, so it’s all set for Windows 8.
Like AMD, Nvidia will also be rolling out their cards in a bottom to top approach, which makes sense since this being a new fabrication process; Nvidia can tweak the production process to get better yields with the entry-level chips, so that the higher-end models don’t suffer the same fate as the original Fermi. The chart shows an entry-level SKU called GK107, which will have a 128-bit memory bus and GDDR5 RAM. Next up is the mainstream SKU, GK106, which sports a full 256-bit memory bus and PCIE Gen 3 support. Moving up to the high-end SKU, GK104 will have a meatier 384-bit memory bus, like the GTX 570. GK110 will feature two 384-bit memory buses on a single PCB, which indicate a dual-GPU card, like the GTX 590. Weirdly, this wouldn’t be their flagship offering, Nvidia have one more SKU, the GK112, which features a full 512-bit memory bus and is positioned to replace the GTX 590.
While DX11.1 is good for future proofing, I’m not too convinced on the real world applications. We’ve had DX11 cards for a while now and we’ve hardly seen any true DX11 titles. Most of the time, games are just patched to DX11 after launch, just to keep PC gamers from an uprising and games that do have it natively, require you to have a monster of a rig to play it. Would DX11.1 really bring anything new to the table? I guess we’ll have to wait it out till Windows 8 arrives.
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