Nvidia’s next-gen Ampere graphics cards could be just around the corner

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Nvidia’s Ampere graphics cards, which represent the next-generation offerings from the firm which step up (or should that be down?) to a 7nm process could be launched in the first half of 2020, according to the latest gossip on the graphics grapevine.

This fresh rumor contends that a launch could potentially happen early next year – although equally, it could be the summer – but it needs to be taken with a heftier than usual dose of salt.

This particular piece of speculation comes from a post over at Igor’s Lab (spotted by Wccftech), although it has a definite ring of guesswork about it (the author writes that Nvidia’s next-gen GPUs “should finally come” in the first half of next year).

However, this isn’t the first we’ve heard about Ampere arriving next year, with DigiTimes previously holding that this is the case, and citing sources claiming that Nvidia will be using Samsung’s 7nm EUV process when it comes to manufacturing these graphics cards.

The successor to the current Turing RTX cards coming out around mid-2020 also makes sense looking at the previous form of Nvidia’s release schedule, with that being roughly in line with the expected pace between generations.

And of course it would mean that the company could head off AMD’s infamous Navi-based ‘Nvidia killer’ which is also rumored to launch around the middle of next year. If that does indeed pan out, then of course AMD’s GPU hitman will have the wrong target in its sights…

As ever, we shouldn’t get too carried away with speculation, though, and how this might be ideal for Nvidia in some ways – even if the company is planning for things to turn out like this, those plans may not come to fruition.

Cheaper cards?

The chatter about Nvidia switching to Samsung for its 7nm production with its next-gen graphics cards must also be treated with a great deal of caution, because Nvidia clarified earlier this year that its next-gen GPU will continue to be produced at TSMC. Although the firm did note it already uses Samsung for manufacturing graphics products, and will use both these foundries for next-gen GPUs.

Obviously it isn’t clear exactly how that will pan out, then, or if the rumor regarding Samsung is pointing to Nvidia perhaps favoring the latter for 7nm – particularly given the recent stories of TSMC’s difficulty in meeting 7nm demand, with extra pressures being piled on given Apple has now ramped up iPhone 11 production.

Who knows, ultimately, but folks are getting excited about the prospect of Nvidia using Samsung’s 7nm EUV process because this could mean that Ampere graphics cards not only benefit from better performance than their predecessors, which is expected, but EUV means chips are cheaper to produce.

Which could in turn mean that the successor to the RTX 2080 doesn’t blow such a big hole in your bank balance, which obviously is something folks are keenly hoping for. Turing pricing has not been kind to consumers, that much is for sure.

Finally, of course we have to bear in mind that the first Ampere products arriving could be heavyweight high-performance computing offerings (the follow-on to Volta), but as we’ve already mentioned, the timing for new consumer graphics cards is seemingly about right.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).