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Nvidia Unlikely To Unveil 2018 Graphics Cards At GDC, GTC

Anyone waiting for a big Nvidia news blowout at Game Developers Conference (GDC) or Nvidia's own Graphics Technology Conference (GTC), both coming up later in March, will probably be disappointed. We’ve learned from multiple independent sources that apart from a possible announcement and a rather vague “appetizer,” nothing concrete regarding Nvidia’s next-gen gaming graphics products is likely to be revealed at these shows. Rumors that these venues would be the big reveal for Nvidia’s 2018 cards to succeed its current Pascal lineup should be put to rest.

It does appear, though, that Nvidia will continue to roll out its Volta architecture while maintaining a clear separation between silicon meant for work and for play. For example, it was already clear from server-industry circles that Ampere, pegged as the successor to Volta, will not (at least initially) get any consumer offshoots. Instead, gamers will feast on cards built on the rumored Turing architecture.

That strategy makes some sense; there are advantages of two separately optimized architectures. On the consumer side, certain key features can be dispensed with from the outset, which makes development and production significantly cheaper. The time of all-in-one architectures, which manufacturers can change arbitrarily by lasercut or activation, is likely to be over (at least with Nvidia).

What remains for gamers? AMD just isn’t putting enough pressure on the market with Vega right now to force Nvidia to make a major move. And if you leave the crypto-mining sector out of the equation, Nvidia has no big impetus to push innovation in the gaming sector. This is in keeping with our information that Nvidia’s Turing launch has apparently been pushed back. Board partners were expecting to receive Turing specifications by now so they could start creating their bill of materials (BOM) and begin development and testing, but they likely won’t get even that until May. The reason why (and whether the mining scene also plays a role in this respect) remains mere speculation for the time being.

Tidbits we’ve heard from various other sources with knowledge of the situation also suggest that the mass production of Turing cards will not start until mid-June, and thus a hard launch of board-partner cards is not expected before July. This should rule out a rollout even at Computex in Taipei in June, although we may see some non-functioning mockups.

It looks more likely that the venue for the big unveiling of Turing-based partner cards will come at Gamescom in August, at which time gamers will be able to get their hands on the them--if the crypto miners don't eat up the supply straight from the factory.

Of course, there are still a lot of question marks, and bits and pieces that could change, but many of the puzzle pieces we’ve gathered from around the industry are showing a clearer, fuller picture. We suspect that by July we’ll see a next-gen GeForce launch, and all will be made clear.