Report: AMD could beat Nvidia to the punch with 28-nm GPUs

Charlie Demerjian over at SemiAccurate has written up a rather interesting piece on Kepler, Nvidia's upcoming 28-nm flagship GPU. If we're to believe his information—and take it with the customary pinch of salt—AMD will beat Nvidia to 28 nm with its Southern Islands GPU later this year.

Demerjian says AMD taped out Southern Islands in February, while Nvidia didn't follow suit with Kepler until June. He estimates a delay of about seven to eight months between tape out and launch, which would pin Southern Islands' debut in September and Kepler's arrival some time around February 2012 "at the earliest."

The article also includes some speculation about Kepler's processing resources. Demerjian wrote in another piece that Southern Islands is more or less a play-it-safe shrink of the Cayman design that powers the Radeon HD 6900 series, but according to today's story, Kepler is a new architecture with substantially more processing resources than Fermi. Word is that Kepler is "heavily skewed" toward compute applications, as well, yet its power management capabilities aren't up to snuff.

If Demerjian's information proves to be accurate, I'm getting the feeling that the transition to 28 nm might play out like a re-run of the move to DirectX 11. AMD came out swinging in late 2009 with lean and mean Radeon HD 5000-series graphics cards, and it took Nvidia until March 2010 to retaliate with its larger and more ambitious Fermi GPU. By then, AMD had a full line of products ready—and precious market share already secured.

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