There’s been a lot of chatter on the web regarding Nvidia's next-gen RTX 40 series. Some rumours suggested that the cards were in testing (opens in new tab) and that a launch was set for September, if not sooner (opens in new tab). However, German tech site Igor's Lab is indicating there's actually a lot of work still to be done, suggesting that the previously rumoured September launch window is highly optimistic.
Igor has produced a speculative timeline (opens in new tab) that estimates the steps Nvidia needs to undertake before the cards are actually available. Perhaps the key takeaway is that the first GPU to launch hasn't yet made it out of the engineering and design phase. If that's the case, then AIB partners have yet to receive GPUs, not to mention a BIOS or driver. In fact, Igor believes that currently there are no working prototypes.
Of course, the true story is known only to Nvidia and its trusted partners. It has a good track record of keeping its pre-release secrets in house—hacks notwithstanding (opens in new tab). However, if this information is accurate, then there's a lot of time to go before we'll be seeing them in our rigs.
There are a multitude of steps to be taken before they reach store shelves. Firstly, prototypes need to be built and tested. That alone will take a significant amount of time. The firmware needs to be finalized and clocks and power levels need to be decided upon based on TSMC yields. Driver work is surely underway and will require extensive validation and testing. Then there's the need to provide sample GPUs to AIB’s for their own development and testing. Add in regional compliance testing and certification, mass production, logistics and further driver polishing, and it's very hard to see how Nvidia can have the cards ready before the final months of 2022.
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All of this goes to show the development of highly complex GPUs is no easy task. Intel's Arc cards are still many weeks away at best (opens in new tab) while the launch of AMD's RDNA 3 cards (opens in new tab) is certainly not imminent. AMD wouldn't have launched an RX 6000 refresh if its next-gen cards were anywhere near being ready.
Now that we're into June, the odds are increasing that gamers don't have a realistic chance of having an RTX 40 card in their system this year. And those who do will be one of the few, especially if Nvidia goes ahead with a low volume RTX 4090 launch to begin with. A card like a 4070 might not even launch this year.
Take all of this with the proverbial pinch of salt. A rogue tweet can change the whole narrative, but as it stands now, the launch of RTX 40 cards does not not seem imminent. That's OK, though—at least we'll have more time to save up for new Zen 4 or 13th Gen systems to house them in.