Rumor points to bigger Maxwell GPUs with integrated ARM cores


— 9:47 AM on April 10, 2014

The rumor mill is buzzing this morning with details about an upcoming graphics card based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture. Czech site Tyden has published information about the GeForce GTX 880, which will reportedly be based on GM204 silicon. According to "various sources," the GTX 880 will boast 3200 shader processors, a 950MHz Boost clock, and 5.7 TFLOPs of horsepower. The site also claims the card will feature a 256-bit path to 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at 7.4 GT/s.

The memory interface width is the first hints that the GTX 880 is not a top-of-the-line product. Tyden suggests Nvidia is also prepping a beefier Maxwell chip dubbed GM210. That GPU seems to be akin to the big Kepler silicon behind the GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Titan. GM204 is apparently set to supplant GK104, which can be found in a swath of mid-range and high-end GeForce cards.

This latest rumor should be taken with a healthy sprinkling of salt, of course. The details are unconfirmed, and some of them appear to be contradictory. For example, the table shown in the article indicates that the GTX 880 has a 230W TDP, but the text claims it requires only one six-pin PCIe power connector. That connector provides a maximum of 75W, which combined with the power from the slot, works out to just 150W total.

Also, there are also some doubts about TSMC's ability to crank out GPUs based on 20-nm process technology. GM204 and GM210 are both expected to be built on 20-nm tech.

It's fun to speculate, though, and the Tyden article contains another interesting tidbit: GM204 will reportedly be Nvidia's first GPU to integrate an ARM processor core, and GM201 is slated to have three ARM cores onboard. This isn't the first time the GTX 880 has been tied to an ARM core, either. An old article at Videocardz from 2012 claimed that Maxwell would feature a 64-bit ARM core mean to provide "more autonomous interaction with the CPU." Nvidia has already made several ARM-based SoCs, and the company has even designed its own, ARM-compatible Denver core. There's no word on whether the bigger Maxwell GPUs might feature off-the-shelf ARM designs or something more specialized, though.

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