Future Nvidia 'Volta' GPU has stacked DRAM, offers 1TB/s bandwidth

By on March 20, 2013, 9:30 AM

Nvidia has updated its public GPU roadmap, revealing new details about upcoming products including a graphics solution that will purportedly offer about four times the memory bandwidth of the new $1,000 GeForce GTX Titan. Codenamed "Volta," the GPU family is expected to arrive sometime after 2014's Maxwell refresh, presumably in 2016 judging by Nvidia's typical two-year architecture refresh cycle.

Speaking at the 2013 GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA yesterday, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang promised that Volta would be able to deliver memory bandwidth of 1TB/s by stacking the card's RAM right on top of the GPU -- a technique Nvidia is currently calling "stacked DRAM." Along with greatly boosting performance, mounting RAM directly on the GPU should reduce the card's overall footprint.

It might be tough to get excited about something that's still four years out, but Nvidia's next-gen Maxwell architecture is expected to appear next year with some tricks of its own, most notably "unified virtual memory," which will allow a machine's CPU to access a GPU's memory and its GPU to access system memory -- reminiscent of AMD's plans to unify memory via its Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA).

It's unclear how these technologies will decide which processor is tapping what memory when and why, but the idea is that a CPU could benefit from a GPU's snappy GDDR chips during high priority loads, while a GPU could leverage the capacious DDR system memory when speed isn't really a top concern. It's easy to see the benefit of both scenarios assuming the functionality is implemented well.

Nvidia also covered its plans for Tegra. After this year's Tegra 4 launch, the company expects to deliver a refresh in 2014 codenamed "Logan," and another in 2015 dubbed "Parker." The former will pack a Kepler-based GPU, support CUDA 5 and OpenGL 4.3, and offer up to three times the speed of existing parts. Samples are slated to ship later this year and mass production is set for the first quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, the latter carries a Maxwell-based GPU and its 64-bit CPU will stem from "Project Denver," an Nvidia initiative revealed in 2011 that set out to build custom CPU cores based on ARM's architecture -- not unlike Apple's A series chips and Qualcomm's Snapdragon range. Parker will also use a FinFET manufacturing process and some say it will use a 16nm fabrication, though this isn't confirmed.




User Comments: 13

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3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

Oh ... wow.. coolness

EEatGDL said:

Interesting, I'm not anxious about them but is quite interesting to see how it will reflect on performance and if any paradigms are changed with these ideas (AMD's HSA and NVIDIA's "unified virtual memory" .

1 person liked this | hood6558 hood6558 said:

These are exciting times for enthusiasts, because eventually all the new technology trickles down to affordable consumer parts. It may seem slow while you're living it, but look how far we've come in just 10 years - cheap SSDs, cheap super-fast RAM, affordable liquid cooling, SATA III, USB 3.0, 4 TB drives, gigabyte NICs - all unimagined in 2003. The next 10 years should be mind-blowing.

1 person liked this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

Even that won't be enough, me and the rest of the world want 4k resolutions. I never liked the 3D BS, but I drool over high resolution panels.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Ahh, the GTX has reclaimed its throne (mini-keplar GK-104 matching Southern Islands was funny) and Nvidia's roadmap looks good. All is well in the world of GPU's with the rightful king in place.

JC713 JC713 said:

Even that won't be enough, me and the rest of the world want 4k resolutions. I never liked the 3D BS, but I drool over high resolution panels.

Yeah, that 1TB/s bandwidth will be great for 4K.

Guest said:

Logan aka Wolverine and Parker aka Spiderman? See the codename within the codename?

1 person liked this | Holyscrap said:

Logan aka Wolverine and Parker aka Spiderman? See the codename within the codename?

Isn't going from Wolverine to Spiderman a step back instead of a step forward? :P

danhodge danhodge said:

I thought Maxwell was Intel's CPU line after Haswell? But it says 'Nvidia's next-gen Maxwell architecture'. I'm a little lost here, can someone please fill me in?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Not if you follow comic book history... Spiderman was significantly stronger than Wolverine ever dreamed to be.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I thought Maxwell was Intel's CPU line after Haswell? But it says 'Nvidia's next-gen Maxwell architecture'. I'm a little lost here, can someone please fill me in?

Intel's next CPU architecture is Broadwell. Maxwell is Nvidia's move into parallel computing. Maxwell and Parker look to become the components- ARM 64-bit processing + general purpose GPU, known as Projects Denver and Boulder.

The first development kits -presumably to kickstart developers to code applications for the technology- named Kayla has just been launched:

( Tegra processor + second generation Kepler GPU)

[Source]

danhodge danhodge said:

Intel's next CPU architecture is Broadwell. Maxwell is Nvidia's move into parallel computing. Maxwell and Parker look to become the components- ARM 64-bit processing + general purpose GPU, known as Projects Denver and Boulder.

Right, that makes more sense. Easy mistake to make I guess.

Not if you follow comic book history... Spiderman was significantly stronger than Wolverine ever dreamed to be.

I follow a bit of comic book history (not enough to make any argument with you), but I still doubt that. Wolverine out strengths him, is as agile as him, and wont really stay down for long.

dragonherder dragonherder said:

I thought Maxwell was Intel's CPU line after Haswell? But it says 'Nvidia's next-gen Maxwell architecture'. I'm a little lost here, can someone please fill me in?

No no that would be broadwell after haswell

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