Rumor: Nvidia to answer Radeon RX 550 with GeForce GT 1030

Nvidia and AMD have traditionally gone back and forth creating new products and tweaking existing models to position one card or another at just about every conceivable price point. AMD has been absent in the high-end space despite Nvidia's launches of the all-conquering GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti, but the red team has been striking first at lower price points of late. To wit, AMD drew first blood in the more budget-friendly end of the market last year with the RX 480 and the related RX 470, while the RX 460 made it to market before the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti competition. With this background, it should come as no surprise that whispers about a possible GeForce GT 1030 begin to circulate just as cards based on AMD's teeny-tiny Radeon RX 550 begin to hit the market.

Speculators can't seem to agree on whether the rumored graphics card will rely on a further cut-down version of the GP107 silicon found in the existing GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti, or on a new chip possibly called GP108. Whatever the chip, the sources assume that buyers will get 512 stream processors exchange for their money. As for the memory packaged along with such a video card, 1 GB or 2 GB seem like the most logical amounts.

Video memory speed has been a sticky point for bottom-rung cards for decades, and we see little reason to expect a high-end configuration for the rumored GT 1030. Nvidia's current offering in the low-end territory, the GeForce GT 730, is offered in configurations with GDDR5 RAM on a 64-bit bus, as well as plain DDR3 on 64- or 128-bit buses. That's not a typo—some of those cards use the same chips present in system memory. The GeForce GT 730 cards with DDR3 memory on a 128-bit bus are based on the 40-nm GF108 "Fermi" chips originally used in 2010's GeForce GT 430.

AMD's Radeon RX 550 and RX 540 appear to be aimed at buyers who want the least cost and power consumption possible while enjoying some of the performance of a modern discrete graphics card. If Nvidia does release a sub-GTX 1050 desktop graphics card based on its Pascal architecture, the existence of mobile variants seems like a foregone conclusion. The green team has been particularly aggressive about endowing its mobile chips with similar performance to their desktop brethren, so we'd expect a mobile GT 1030 to hew closely to the desktop model.

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