Nvidia Pascal GPU Will Have Impressive 17 Billion Transistors
Samuel Wan / 2 years ago
After being stuck for what seems like forever on 28nm, we’re finally getting a glimpse of the monsters set to arrive with TSMC’s 16nm process. Code-named Pascal, Nvidia’s top end 16nm GPU is reportedly pushing 17 billion transistors, set to replace the current GM200.
To put that number in context, the current Titan X only clocks in at about 8 billion transistors, making the “GP100” Pascal more than twice as complex and likely twice as dense. Even AMD’s monster Fury X only pushes 8.9 billion transistors, which is still far and behind Pascal. Combined with a reported 32Gb of HBM VRAM at the highest SKU, Pascal may show a massive jump in performance compared to our current chips.
These gains are only possible with the new 16nm FinFET process from TSMC. Being nearly twice as dense, 16nm would allow Nvidia and AMD to double transistors in only a slightly larger die size. Combined with better power efficiency from being a lower process, FinFETs and HBM, efficiency should also improve despite having more transistors. Despite being called 16nm, TSMC’s process is closer to Intel’s 22nm or Samsung’s 20nm design, so there is certainly even more room to shrink in the future.
While CPUs have not benefitted as much from increased transistor counts, GPUs are relatively less complex and easier to make full use of the extra transistors. With DX12 and Vulcan in line as well as the new architectures from Nvidia and AMD, these new technologies should create a perfect storm to push GPU performance and gaming forward.
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