This article has been updated to mention Nvidia's Tuesday announcement that it will be hosting an event on Sept. 1.
On Tuesday morning, Nvidia announced that it will be hosting an event featuring CEO Jensen Huang at 12 P.M. ET on Sept. 1. Nvidia added that Huang will use the event to "highlight the company’s latest innovations in gaming and graphics.”
The announcement came a day after the Nvidia GeForce Twitter account shared a brief teaser video of an exploding star, while attaching the hashtag #UltimateCountdown. And notably, the account updated its cover photo to include a shot of the explosion, while including the words “21 Days. 21 Years.”
“21 Years” is presumably a reference to the launch of Nvidia’s original GeForce gaming GPU -- the GeForce 256 -- which was unveiled on Aug. 31, 1999.
Past reports had indicated a slightly later September reveal for high-end gaming GPUs based on Nvidia’s new Ampere architecture, which will succeed its existing Turing architecture. An Ampere-based flagship server GPU, the A100, was revealed in May.
The rumor mill has pointed to the 2020 launch of four Ampere gaming GPUs: A flagship GPU that will be known as either the GeForce RTX 3090 or 3080 Ti, along with three less powerful GPUs that will respectively be known as the RTX 3080, the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060. However, just as Nvidia only revealed three GPUs at its original Turing gaming GPU launch event in Aug. 2018, the company isn’t expected to announce the RTX 3060 until a later date.
Though specs have varied a bit from one rumor to another, multiple rumors have indicated that Nvidia’s next flagship gaming GPU will sport more than 5,200 CUDA processing cores. For comparison, Nvidia’s flagship Turing gaming GPU, the RTX 2080 Ti, has 4,352 CUDA cores.
Along with having more CUDA cores than comparably-positioned Turing GPUs, Ampere gaming GPUs are expected -- as is the norm for next-gen gaming GPU lines -- to feature higher clock speeds and support more memory bandwidth than their predecessors, as well as be more power-efficient. They’re also expected to support the new PCIe 4.0 I/O standard (Turing GPUs only support the older PCIe 3.0 standard).
In addition, Ampere GPUs are expected to contain newer RT cores and Tensor Cores -- they’re used to enable real-time ray tracing and deep learning super sampling (DLSS), respectively -- while also packing more of the cores than comparable Turing GPUs. With the third-gen Tensor Cores included within Nvidia’s A100 GPU delivering major performance gains for AI inference workloads run on servers, they should do the same for DLSS performance on Ampere gaming GPUs.
Like their predecessors, the most powerful products in Nvidia’s Ampere gaming GPU line aren’t expected to be cheap. The RTX 2080 Ti was launched with a $999 graphics card MSRP, while the second-most-powerful GPU in Nvidia’s current Turing line, the RTX 2080 Super, was launched with a $699 MSRP. As is its custom for its high-end gaming GPUs, Nvidia also sells “Founders Edition” graphics cards for these GPUs that sport somewhat better specs than standard third-party cards, along with higher prices.
Nvidia’s GPU refresh will be arriving at a time of elevated demand for both PC and console gaming hardware, as COVID-19 continues driving a spike in gaming activity. With supplies limited, new 2080 Ti cards are often selling for healthy premiums to their MSRPs at major online retailers and on eBay, even though Ampere gaming GPUs have been widely rumored to be on the way.
Should they begin shipping in September, Nvidia’s first Ampere gaming GPUs will probably arrive just ahead of the launch of the first AMD (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report GPUs based on the company’s next-gen, RDNA 2, gaming GPU architecture. AMD said in July that it plans to launch its first RDNA 2 GPUs, which are promised to deliver a 50% improvement in power efficiency and expected to include a flagship GPU codenamed Big Navi, in late 2020.