Yet further rumors and news concerning Nvidia’s Maxwell GPU’s have popped up. this time from the webstore PCHUB, who’re based in the Philippines. From what we’re hearing, they’ve upset both Nvidia and Zotac for their so called ‘sneak peak’ that shows off Zotac’s new GeForce GTX 970 GPU.
The card looks fairly small – considering the rumored price point of 400 US dollars, you might expect something a little larger. It’s pretty typical of high end cards after all, instead the card looks like something along the lines of a GTX 750 Ti. Still, size doesn’t matter – how much compute power does it pack?
We’re still waiting on official confirmation on some of the specs, but 4GB of GDDR5 RAM is displayed on the box – so that’s something at least.Latest rumors completely go against the grain of earlier ones, with the number of CUDA cores said to be only 1664 for the GTX 970, and of course running the 256-bit memory bus. Core clocks are 1152MHZ for the Zotac Geforce GTX 970 – 100MHZ above the reference design. Another strange point – both the 970 and the 980 are said to only have 32ROPS. Some of this comes to us via leaked GPUZ screenshots – or are they leaks or a fake? It’s hard to know right now. CUDA cores aren’t everything – remember Maxwell is much more advanced and efficient – therefore it’s possible that less cores achieve a similar result to say Kepler.
Things get more complex when we look at the 1920 CUDA cores in the GTX 980. We’re hearing reports that the 980 does in fact slightly beat out the GTX 780 Ti in synthetic performance – but of course how well that mirrors games is anyone’s guess. It’s a good chance though that at worst we’ll be looking at between the GTX 780 and the GTX 780 Ti for games performance. But for gamers who’re using lots of VRAM (say 4K gamer’s) there might be a bigger gap between the two generations.
Judging from the internet’s reaction so far – excitement is somewhat muted. Memory bandwidth of 224GB/s isn’t really that impressive (the card in the supposed GPUZ screenshot above is running overclocked RAM) – and sure, the cards are more efficient but I think after all the hype people expected more. My own gut feelings would be that if you’ve a great GPU already, you might want to stick with it until the so called “Maxwell B’s” are released early next year. These are a refresh, and supposedly feature a die shrink – and thus better performance. Some believe this is when we’ll be seeing the Ti’s – but who the heck knows at this point.
Honestly Maxwell is one of the most confusing set of rumors I’ve seen in GPU’s in a long time. The real innovation here will likely be a major improvement in power and heat – which is of course important, particularly in the mobile space.
It remains to be seen what AMD will do to counter this – good money is on them preparing something, but whether the hushed whispers of the R9 295X are accurate is a mystery.
Below are the earlier rumored reports of Maxwell – just so you can see how the rumored specs of the GPU’s architecture has changed over the past week. You’ll notice that the CUDA core count has dropped massively – thanks apparently to a more efficient architecture.
|GeForce GTX 780||GeForce GTX 780 Ti||GeForce GTX 970||GeForce GTX 980|
|Kepler GK110-300||Kepler GK110||Maxwell GM204||Maxwell GM204|
|2304 Cuda Cores||2880 Cuda Cores||2304 CUDA Cores||2560 CUDA Cores|
|900 MHZ Boost||928 MHZ Boost||1050 MHZ Boost||1050 MHZ Boost|
|3GB 6008 MHZ Effective RAM||3GB 7008 MHZ Effective RAM||4GB 7010 MHZ||4GB 7010 MHZ|
|384 Bit Bus||384 Bit Bus||256 Bit Bus||256 Bit Bus|
|288 GB/s Bandwidth||336 GB/s Bandwidth||224 GB/s Bandwidth||224 GB/s Bandwidth|
|192 TMU||240 TMU||128 TMU||160 TMU|
|48 ROPS||48 ROPS||64 ROPS||64 ROPS|
It does go without say that the GTX 900 series is marketed as DirectX 12 – but just how much of the DX12 feature set the cards actually support remains a mystery. Remember Nvidia say that the 740 GT is DX12 compliant – and it is, technically – but because DX12 is still being developed it remains to be seen how much is really supported.
Of course we don’t have long to wait, with the cards unveiled officially on the 19th of September. If nothing else it’ll be good to actually know what’s true and what isn’t true and settle the damn rumors once and for all.