by Anton Shilov
03/02/2012 | 02:56 PM
The very first pictures of what is believed to be next-generation Nvidia GeForce code-named "Kepler" graphics cards along with a scheme of printed circuit board have surfaced on the web (at Chiphell and Expreview web-sites). The GeForce Kepler GK104 is clearly projected to be a high-end solution, the card itself is evidently rather huge.
Nvidia GeForce "Kepler" GK104 graphics card looks exactly like a high-end adapter: it has very tricky 5-phase power supply system with very unusual set of PCIe power connectors. According to some media sources, the external power supply system may include two 6-pin and an 8-pin PCIe power plugs, which means that the card will have rather high power consumption. In addition, the board has two MIO connectors, which are found only on high-end products, to provide three-way or four-way multi-GPU SLI configurations. The new adapter has DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI display connectors.
The card, which is allegedly powered by Kepler graphics processing unit (GPU), carries eight GDDR5 memory chips on its front side. If the card has another eight chips on the back side, then it has 512-bit memory bus, if not, then it sports 256-bit memory bus, which is something strange.
The GK104 chip does not seem to be too huge and therefore too expensive. Some believe that Nvidia is also preparing code-named GK100 chip, which will have even higher graphics and compute performance. Exact specifications of the GK104 are unknown.
Nvidia has very high expectations for its Kepler generation of graphics processing units (GPUs). The company claims that it had signed contracts to supply mobile versions of GeForce “Kepler” chips with every single PC OEM in the world. In fact, Nvidia says Kepler is the best graphics processor ever designed by the company. Unfortunately for Nvidia, yields of chips made using 28nm process technology at TSMC, including Kepler, are lower than the company originally anticipated and therefore their costs are high and Nvidia's chief executive recently complained that the company cannot get enough wafers.
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. Entry-level chips may not get all the features that Kepler architecture will have to often.
Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.