Nvidia Volta is the architecture that we have had on eyes on for a long time now and it is nowhere to be found when it comes to the consumer gaming market. Yet graphics cards based on the Nvidia Volta architecture have been released but they are not meant for gaming. Is it possible that Nvidia Volta is not even relevant to gaming at this point and that Nvidia Ampere is what you should actually be looking forward to?
Nvidia Volta Obsolete For Gamers?
The Tesla V100 was the first graphics card that came to market based on the Nvidia Volta architecture and since then we also have got the Nvidia Titan V which is also based on the same architecture and while this graphics card can push FPS to games to the point where you are nursing a semi, you need to recall that the Nvidia Titan V is not meant for gaming at all.
Even if you do decide the ay the $3000 and decide to play games on it, that was not how the company intended it to be used in the first place. Nvidia Titan V has got scientists and researchers excited because they are the primary market for this graphics card as this is indeed meant for AI and machine learning applications, not gaming.
If you think about it the specs of the Titan V and the Nvidia Volta architecture just don’t make sense for gaming. These are additional things that game engines do not take advantage of, at least not right now, it that changes in the near future I would be as surprised as the next person but as of right now it is what it is.
The Titan V has a huge die size as well as 640 tensor cores that games and game engines are never going to take advantage of. These cores are used for scientific and research applications and the Titan V also comes with very expensive HBM2 memory. Compare that to GDDR5 or GDDR5X and the difference is not all that great when you talk about gaming.
Nvidia Ampere Is The Way Forward For Gaming
Now you might be thinking that all that is great but Nvidia could easily cut out all that scientific stuff and make a cheaper GPU for the gaming market and that is what we thought at first as well but then again why have we not heard about Nvidia Volta based graphics cards for the gaming market yet?
The last I heard Nvidia CEO announced that there will be no next-generation graphics cards coming out in 2017 and that Pascal is more than capable of keeping up with the competition. While both these points have been true indeed, Pascal has been able to keep up with Vega, you have to wonder where is Nvidia Volta?
While Nvidia could indeed cut out the Tensor cores and make a GPU with the remains I think AMD has had their fair share of problems dealing with HBM2 and the price to performance comparison is not worth it when you compare it to GDDR5X. What I think Nvidia is going to do is skip Nvidia Volta for gaming entirely and focus on something different for the gaming community.
This would not be something that we have not heard of before, graphics cards for professionals and consumers have been kept separate before so I don’t see why that could be the case here as well. We heard about Nvidia Ampere in recent leaks and that is what I think is coming out for the gaming market.
Although we have seen nothing except for Volta in the roadmaps and this does sound a bit shady but the name Nvidia Ampere has been mentioned time and time again and all this does make sense if you think about it.
As of right now, I cannot say what Nvidia Ampere will bring with it, but it has been speculated that we could get an announcement at GTC 2018. No announcement for Nvidia Ampere graphics cards was made at CES 2018 and keeping that in mind, GTC 2018 should be the best platform to announce the next generation of gaming graphics cards.
Is Nvidia Ampere A Separate Architecture Or Just A Brand Name?
I would not be surprised if you have this question in mind. It is logical for people to wonder what is going. There are two things that can happen here, either Nvidia Ampere is a new architecture or it is just the name of the gaming brand. Let’s see both cases.
If this is a new architecture then this would mean that the Nvidia Ampere architecture has been designed with gaming in mind and has been designed for that purpose indeed. In that case, Volta and Ampere would make sense separately. Volta for research and AI and Ampere for gaming.
If it just a brand name then it will be weird because no matter what the purpose of the card is Pascal cards are Pascal cards, whether they are GTX cards or any other kind of graphics card. It would not make sense to keep the two things separate and I am sure that this will cause a bit of confusion.
Other than that reducing the die size and removing the science-stuff seems just too complicated and too much effort and will most likely add to the cost of production of these cards. Which is something people are conscious about.
When Can You Expect To See Nvidia Ampere?
There is little that we know about Nvidia Ampere and all that we have are bits of information and rumors from here and there but with GTC 2018 coming closer, I think we will be able to find out once and for all what Nvidia has planned for the gaming market and whether it will be Nvidia Ampere or Nvidia Volta that will be powering the next generation of gaming graphics cards.
We also talked about the fact that AMD is not introducing anything new to the graphics card market. AMD Vega did not do too well as compared to Pascal and this year we are waiting for the refresh. Keeping that in mind this is not much of a threat to Nvidia and it is possible that Nvidia will take its time to release Nvidia Ampere gaming graphics cards in order to capitalize as much as possible on Pascal.
The Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti is a relatively new graphics card and we are still seeing new custom models coming out which could be an indication of how long Nvidia want to continue selling Pascal based graphics cards. You can check out the GALAX GTX 1070 Ti HOF here.
Let us know what you think about Nvidia Ampere and whether or not you think this is the architecture that Nvidia has planned for the gaming market, or you still think that it will be Nvidia Volta at the end of the day that will be featured in gaming graphics cards.