Nvidia's Volta GPU to feature on-chip DRAM

Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference kicked off today with a keynote address from CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. A range of topics were covered, with some of the most interesting revelations providing insight on the firm's GPU roadmap.

The follow-up to the current Kepler microarchitecture is called Maxwell, and it's due out in 2014. Maxwell will be Nvidia's first GPU to employ unified virtual memory, which means the graphics chip will be able to see the contents of system memory, and vice versa. Huang says this capability will make programming the GPU easier, and I suspect it will be particularly welcomed by the Tesla crowd.

Source: Nvidia

Maxwell will be succeeded by Volta, which includes more memory innovations. Instead of relying solely on off-chip memory, the Volta GPU will share its silicon substrate with DRAM. This on-chip memory will be stacked vertically, and it will purportedly offer substantially higher bandwidth than what's available via an external interface. Huang says the integrated memory will boast a whopping 1TB/s of bandwidth—more than three times what's offered by the GeForce Titan.

Huang didn't provide a timeline for Volta's release, but I wouldn't expect it before 2016. Nvidia has a history of debuting new GPU architectures every two years, with Fermi arriving in 2010, Kepler coming last year, and Maxwell scheduled for next year.

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