I can't wait for next week to roll around and for us to finally get some concrete numbers about Nvidia's new RTX 40-series graphics cards (opens in new tab), because I cannot cope with all the 'holy heck, if this is true…' rumours popping up every single day.
The latest is that the AD102 expected to be powering the RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) is going to have 165% more transistors than the freakishly beefy GA102 monster that ran the RTX 3090 Ti (opens in new tab). Yes, yet another tweaker has come out with some GPU number porn: here's @kopite7kimi (opens in new tab) claiming that Nvidia's full-fat Lovelace chip is going to be sporting more than 75 billion transistors.
For a full frame of reference, the RTX 3090 Ti's GPU houses 28.3 billion transistors inside its massive 628mm² die, and the Navi 21 chip inside AMD's RX 6950 XT (opens in new tab) comes in at 26.8 billion in a 520mm² die.
I get that the Lovelace GPU of the RTX 40-series is going to operate with a smaller TSMC N5 (nominally 5nm) production process, as opposed to the Samsung 8nm and TSMC N7 (7nm) lithography of our reference chips above, but still, that's going to be an absolutely enormous graphics processors.
Surely right at the reticle limits; as big a GPU as it is physically possible to manufacture with today's technology.
Given that the RTX 4090 is expected to offer something in the region of twice the performance of the RTX 3090 (opens in new tab), you'd expect it to be bigger. But this suggests Nvidia has needed to throw a whole lot more logic at the problem to be able to top its previous biggest GPU to this level.
The transistor number has come from an update to an old tweet of the serial Twitter leaker. Back in April they set up a Twitter poll asking users to guess how many transistors ("xtors") the AD102 GPU would have. The options were 40–50 billion, 50–60 billion, 60–70 billion, and 70–80 billion.
Just over 39% of respondents went for the latter option, which @kopite7kimi has now stated is "the right choice."
Remember this. 😁Most people made the right choice. More than 75B.September 13, 2022
Honestly, that's pretty startling. Not that 39% have supposedly got it right, but that Nvidia is really going to create a consumer-facing GPU with such a huge amount of cutting edge silicon inside it. I mean, this is some real brute force, sledgehammer graphics card creation stuff right here.
And sure to be priced to match.
Once again I have to go back to the novelty-size graphics card looks of the RTX 3090 Founders Edition in the system in front of me right now. That card always makes me laugh when I actually take the time to look at it. It's frankly a ridiculous-size graphics card.
Fingers crossed the RTX 4090 looks a whole lot more elegant a device when it finally hits the limelight at Nvidia's GeForce Beyond Special Broadcast (opens in new tab) on Tuesday September 20.
|RTX 4090||RTX 4080||RTX 4070|
|Memory Type||24GB GDDR6X||16GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X|