2018 - Hardware Refresh Year

2018 – Hardware Refresh Year?

Nvidia seems to approach fast the launch of the GeForce 20 series, or GeForce 11 series or if you prefer, the Pascal refresh or Ampere or if you prefer, Turing, because no one really knows for certain right now.

There are so many different rumors and theories behind what we’re going to be seeing from Nvidia, my personal take on this is that I don’t think of Volta is going to come to gamers, I think that yes, we’re either going to be seeing Ampere, Turing or a Pascal refresh and indeed it’s going to be much more focused towards the gaming side of things.

One of the reasons that the release date hasn’t really been solidified yet is they don’t have that much competition from AMD, although things could change with 7nm Vega, should we see an RX derivative of that or some other competing form architecture from AMD in the gaming arena. And the price of mining and the fact that card prices and memory prices have just been absolutely ballistic.

Right now, Nvidia most likely did not want to release a card which would essentially just be ridiculously expensive, it would have upset too many people and that’s why I think they’ve had the status quo for so long.

We hope the range coming out now will be stable and not having any additional refreshes. The next generation of GPUs is announced, currently scheduled more towards the end of spring. So essentially now and a month in advance.

We have to remember a couple of things, the first is that the mobile versions of the GeForce series don’t necessarily equate to the same time as its desktop variants, and indeed if you were to look at the release dates of the GTX 1080 and 1070, which of course were the first cards to be released in the 10 series line up, we had the GTX 1070 which was released June 10th 2016, and May 27th 2016 for the GT x 1080.

meanwhile, the mobile derivatives for both the notebook 1070 and the notebook 1080 was August 16th for 2016, so there was definitely a release date difference there, but if we were to take a look at the GeForce GTX 980 for desktop, it was released on the date of September 18th, 2014, but the mobile version was released October 7th, 2014.

It is essentially about a month’s difference, they’re also taking into account the fact that six core notebooks have only really just seen the light of day, therefore it’s most likely that the manufacturers aren’t particularly under pressure to upgrade the hardware because, obviously, it would upset a lot of users, so judging by the news, release dates for the desktop versions are not going to be released for at least a couple of months.

2018 - Hardware Refresh Year

If you have the money in your pocket right now and you desperately need a graphics card because you’ve just built a new system, and you literally cannot wait, then, by all means, pull the trigger and buy a graphics card especially if you get on a really good price.

Current prices have stabilized and there are some good deals out there right now.

If you believe mining is going to make a comeback and possibly make graphics cards prohibitively expensive, might be worth doing the jump, or the alternative is that if you can wait, if you’ve got a reasonable card right now, let’s say you’ve got just for sake of argument, a GTX 1070, but you’ve then upgraded to a 4k screen, I would probably just make do with the GTX 1070 or equivalent card and just wait for a couple of months to see what you’ve got on market.

You could also sell your card on eBay, but of course how much of a pot of gold you end up with to put towards on a graphics card is dubious at best.

On to AMD and Intel – so there have been an awful lot of rumors from both companies.

AMD is usually the quickest of the two companies to go through in terms of the number of subjects, and certainly less complex than Intel.

The Z 490 is indeed listed and it appears to be within the emerging of months of the second half of 2018, so let’s say June, July type of time, unfortunately we don’t know too many details on how the Z 490 differs from the X470, in fact for many the Z 490 was pretty much just a theory and there was so little information on it a lot of folks actually mistook it and believed that people were just getting mixed up with the Intel platform the Z 319.

The differences remain ambiguous at best, I mean, AMD is behind things like embedded Wi-Fi so it’s possible that it could be a major difference, and then we also see the B 450 chipsets being released in late July, that’s pretty much what you’d expect. It is going to be a cut-down version of the x470, it’s going to cost less money but, of course, you have fewer features as well.

I suspect that the B450s will also be a very good purchase as well especially if you’re buying something like a 1600 or 1600 X, and according to the latest information it also appears that Threadripper refresh, or whatever it ends up being called, is going to be emerging in the second half of the year.

Moving on to Intel – things are a little cagey when it comes to the X – 99 refresh, or x399 or cascade Lake or coffee Lake X or whatever it ends up being called, currently Intel is not feeding that information out to partners or perhaps it’s still digesting that information internally, so if you are looking to purchase a platform based on Intel, unfortunately right now we do not know any information about near future.

But when it comes to Z390 and the eight core coffee Lakes, it would appear that we do actually have some solid information, the first eight-core engineering sample targets are for June 2018, so a couple of months away, don’t forget this also ties in with the fact that so are some oems, that there’s going to be an eight-core mainstream processor from Intel at some point within this year.

However, it doesn’t appear that we’re going to get this thing released tomorrow or anything close, in fact, if the engineering samples are not going to be starting to really emerge until June, its most likely we’re not going to see this thing until at the very earliest October, and frankly I’d be shocked if it was that early.

I won’t be surprised if it slips to some point in November possibly even December of this year when it comes to the z390 platform itself.

2018 - Hardware Refresh Year

At this point the only thing AMD can do is ramp up the clock speeds after the Ryzen 2, but how much room is left in the tank of their processors? I suspect that if they do increase TDP and perhaps cherry-pick samples, they could certainly go with a couple of extra hundred megahertz, maybe a little more, but I don’t think they’re going to be tweaking IPC.

This article intended to be me just making some speculation, but if these companies manage to put out a product which is competing fairly well particularly when it comes to their past material and a good creativity suite of applications, but also, at a decent price point, then obviously let them do their job and manage to sell a lot of processors and graphics cards on the expected next generation of 2018 hardware.

Also published on Medium.