by Anton Shilov
08/04/2011 | 05:54 PM
Nvidia Corp. on Thursday clarified its plans regarding the next-generation Kepler graphics processing units (GPUs) and their release timeframes. Apparently, the company is on schedule to receive the early silicon of Kepler from its manufacturing partner later in 2011, but the commercial launch of the product is scheduled to occur only in 2012.
"Although we will have early silicon this year, Kepler-based products are actually scheduled to go into production in 2012. We wanted to clarify this so people wouldn’t expect product to be available this year," said Ken Brown, a spokesman for Nvidia, in an email statement.
Chris Malachowsky, senior vice president of research and a co-founder of Nvidia said at a recent event that Nvidia would start shipping its next-generation graphics processing units code-named Kepler by the end of the year. The company did not say that the new chips will actually become available commercially though.
Kepler is Nvidia's next-generation graphics processor architecture that is projected to bring considerable performance improvements and will likely make the GPU more flexible in terms of programmability, which will speed up development of applications that take advantage of GPGPU (general purpose processing on GPU) technologies. Some of the technologies that Nvidia promised to introduce in Kepler and Maxwell (the architecture that will succeed Kepler) include virtual memory space (which will allow CPUs and GPUs to use the "unified" virtual memory), pre-emption, enhance the ability of GPU to autonomously process the data without the help of CPU and so on.
The new chip is projected to be made using 28nm process technology. Many believe that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which makes chips for Nvidia, AMD and many others, will not be able to supply enough 28nm products this calendar year.
Nvidia's Kepler family of products, which will likely get GeForce 600-series name in the consumer market segment, will not only power Nvidia's mid-term future products, but will also help Nvidia to boost sales of its desktop discrete graphics cards. In Q2 2011 shipments of discrete graphics boards for desktops were down 15%, according to some analysts.