40nm, GDDR5-powered GeForce GPUs coming next quarter?

— 11:15 AM on January 5, 2009

Nvidia may mirror some of AMD's design choices with its next flagship graphics processor, if a report by Hardware-Infos is accurate. The German website claims to have learned from sources "close to Nvidia" that the GT212—a 40nm GPU supposedly coming in the second quarter—will measure less than 300 mm² and feature a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface.

For reference, the 55nm chip in AMD's Radeon HD 4000-series cards measures roughly 260 mm² and also has a 256-bit GDDR5 interface, whereas the 65nm GT200 in Nvidia's GeForce GTX cards has a 577 mm² footprint and taps into GDDR3 memory via a 512-bit interface. The AMD part has nearly equivalent bandwidth thanks to the higher clocks of GDDR5 RAM, and as a bonus, the narrower interface helped AMD keep chip sizes down.

Hardware-Infos also writes that the GT212 will have 384 stream processors and 96 texture units, up from 240 SPs and 80 TMUs for the GT200. GT212-based cards should therefore be both faster and more power-efficient than current high-end GeForces. Surprisingly, though, the report says Nvidia won't adopt DirectX 10.1 like AMD has.

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