Making Sense of All the GPU Rumors

It’s no surprise that we’re in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to official news from NVIDIA and Radeon regarding whatever’s next in the GPU world. And it certainly doesn’t help when sites like WCCFTech try and drive traffic to their sites during this dry spell by publishing articles on an almost-daily basis filled with unsubstantiated claims and leaks. I get it though: both NVIDIA’s Pascal and Radeon’s Polaris architectures have been out since 2016, and PC gamers are ready and willing to spend their hard-earned money on upgrades. Yes, Radeon did revise Polaris last year with their slightly-tweaked RX 500 series, and they did introduce their all-new RX Vega architecture, but let’s face it: Vega has a tough time competing with the higher-end Pascal cards and often comes at a bit of a premium in terms of price.

For quite a while now, there have been rumors making their way around the Internet about an upcoming GTX 11 Series (once rumored to be the 20 Series instead), but so far NVIDIA has remained very tight-lipped on the topic, even going so far as to say that it will be a while until we see anything new. AMD (Radeon’s parent company), on the other hand, has at least been forthcoming that their next architecture, referred to as Navi, won’t be making an appearance until 2019.

Sites like WCCFTech have gone as far as to suggest that we’ll see new GTX 11 Series cards sometime over the next few months, saying that they’ll feature all-new GDDR6 memory, based on a new architecture supposedly called “Turing.” They’ve even gone as far as to claim that there will be two variants of the high-end GTX 1180, one featuring 8GB of GDDR6 and another featuring a whopping 16GB. However, as far as I can tell this is all entirely unsubstantiated. I’ve also seen rumors that Radeon may opt to release a pre-Navi stopgap in the form of a third revision of Polaris (most likely an RX 600 line of cards) that would feature a die shrink down to 12nm (from 14nm) in order to offer improvements in power draw and clock speeds as well as potentially higher core counts. Again, while this does sound nice, it’s also entirely unsubstantiated.

Here’s what I think, though: because Radeon’s RX Vega line of higher-end GPUs was an unmitigated flop, the stakes have been pretty low for NVIDIA to push out an all-new architecture so soon. And, let’s face it: the higher end Pascal cards are actually quite powerful as it is, with the GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti cards being unrivaled by Radeon’s offerings. If Radeon’s next-generation Navi architecture won’t be seen until 2019, and at best the company may put out a revised Polaris in order to drive a few more sales, there really isn’t a major impetus yet for NVIDIA to rush a new architecture to market.

However, since Pascal has been on the market for over two years now, I do think that many NVIDIA fans feel like it’s high time the company gave them something new to play with. As powerful as the GTX 1080 Ti was, it still isn’t capable of driving 4K at a solid 60 FPS on the maximum settings in every game that’s thrown at it. There are still a few games that can bring it to its knees. Of course, that might be a problem for a very small minority of gamers, but there’s also the fact that a newer architecture, even on the lower-end cards, will certainly yield improvements in terms of overall clock speeds and power consumption versus the older Pascal architecture.

So, will we see a new GTX 11 Series sometime in the next few months? Maybe. I think there’s a good chance of that, actually. However, I also think that we shouldn’t spend too much time reading all the rumor posts and instead should just be patient and wait for NVIDIA to make some official announcements. I feel the same way about Radeon, too. There’s a chance we’ll see one more revision of Polaris, and I do believe they’re on track to release Navi sometime next year, but speculating on what may or may not be is kind of a fruitless endeavor.

For now, let’s just wait and see what’s coming over the next few months. I have a feeling we’ll be in for some pleasant surprises!

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