After a lot of speculation, we’ve confirmation on the final specifications of Nvidia’s GTX 980 Ti, also known as the GM200-310 GPU. The graphics card will sit right between the GTX 980 and Nvidia’s GTX Titan X in terms of performance thanks to a cut down GM200 GPU.
The GM200-310 GPU has two of its SMMs (Streaming Multi Processors) disabled, leaving 22 out of the 24 of the Titan X; with each SMM containing 128 CUDA cores, this translates into 2816 CUDA cores for the GTX 980 Ti (compared to 3072 of the Titan X).
Nvidia has a few reasons for the fewer number of SMM’s – the first being competition for the more expensive Titan X. The original lineup of Titan’s had greater compute performance compared to the remaining Keplar lineup, and thus folks who yearned for a mixture of a ‘work horse’ card and a gaming card would opt for the Titan. The Titan X features none of the double precision performance of the older Titan lineup, and thus the main factor separating it and the 980’s was the raw gaming performance (thanks to additional CUDA cores).
A secondary reason would be yields – quite simply put, when GPU’s (or other parts such as CPU’s) are created, sometimes the dies will have a defect which renders a part of it unusable or unable to run at a high clock rate. In the case of the GTX Titan X, each of the 24 SMM’s were required to function, meaning that a good portion of the Maxwell cores weren’t able to meet this criteria, and thus cores were ‘cherrypicked’. Now Nvidia can use the ‘lesser’ cores (say with 23 working) and simply disable that 23rd core and use it for the GTX 980 Ti.
The GPU will also feature only half of the amount of VRAM of the Titan X, sitting at 6GB compared to 12GB. It’s still plenty of frame buffer, and it’s unlikely games will fill it up for sometime. Because the core is cut down it’s somewhat possible we could have a GTX 980 situation, where a certain amount of VRAM is running considerably slower than the rest. Memory bandwidth will otherwise be the same as the Titan X, at 336GB/s (384-bit bus, running at 1753 MHz).
According to the leaks over at VideoCardz the performance of the GTX 980 Ti has the potential to be equal to around the Titan X, and actually surpass it if the GPU is overclocked. Supposedly this is because of higher boost clocks on the GM200-310 core, and also Nvidia’s decision to allow their partners (such as EVGA) to use their own aftermarket coolers and thus we’ll see custom PCB’s and pre-overclocked GTX 980 Ti’s which are faster than the GTX Titan X.
The GPU is said to see a release by about Computex, which is also when AMD are going to unveil their 300 range of GPU’s (and they are supposedly going to release them later on in June). The next 30 days will be super interesting in the GPU market, with a lot of market share up for grabs for power users itching for an upgrade. Many have eagerly waited to see how AMD will counter Nvidia’s Maxwell range, and with rumors that the R9 390X Fiji will feature watercooling as a standard, and with Dice singing its praises already… well, hold on to your butts.