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Nvidia RTX 30-series and the Ampere Architecture: The Rumors are Out There

Nvidia’s RTX 20-series cards have been met with a rather mixed reception. Unlike the almost universally-loved 10-series of cards, the 20-series did not bring as such a large leap in performance, while bringing down cost and power consumption dramatically. While RTX cards are significantly more powerful, their main claim to fame was the introduction of hardware-based ray tracing. This is an incredibly impressive technology, providing for photo-realistic lighting and graphics. However, RTX 20-series cards have relatively modest ray-tracing horsepower. The cards also come with dedicated machine learning hardware, which has also only come into its own with the release of the latest version of Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling tech. The 20-series then, has plenty of potential and promise, but it’s clearly a first-generation product. So the anticipation for its successor is understandably intense.

CAPTION: Minecraft with RTX Ray Tracing

What Do We Know About Ampere?

The GPU architecture that will follow the current RTX 20-series is known as “Ampere”. While there have been few if any official details on this new chip series, rumours abound. If the history of Nvidia releases are any indication, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing an announcement by August of 2020. However, given the current global pandemic, it’s really anyone’s guess what will actually happen. Since production chains are being disrupted and people can’t go to work. The rumoured RTX 3080 Ti will apparently be 40% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti and might even be here as soon as the end of 2020. The problem is that this rumour comes from a Twitter account that no longer exists. So make of it what you will. When it comes to cost, there’s also no real way to know what Nvidia will do.

One of the biggest problems is that, unlike Intel, Nvidia doesn’t really face serious competition from AMD at the moment. The latest AMD RDNA, some of which we’re hearing about in the next-gen gaming consoles, is largely still an unknown quantity. Without pressure from AMD, Nvidia doesn’t really have a reason to drop prices. The 20-series faced some criticism for being more expensive than the seemingly equivalent 10-series cards. However, as it turns out, they weren’t meant to replace those cards at the mid-range. Which is why we got the awkwardly-named 16-series cards. With refinement, we might see the 30-series cards fall back in line with 10-series pricing. Otherwise there might be some sort of 26-series to fill the gap. If you aren’t in dire need of a new card, it’s probably a good idea at this point to wait at least until the end of 2020 before buying any sort of high-end card.

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