Peek into the future of Graphics Hardware
It’s close to four years now that graphics chips for our favourite video cards have been manufactured using 28nm process. Back in the day when TSMC moved up from the 40nm process directly to the 28nm process node capable of fitting billions more transistors into their GPUs it marked a monumental leap for the gaming industry.
This leap was what lead to the Xbox One, and PS4 coming to reality, the reason that gave Nvidia and ATI the power to equip us with the hardware to achieve what then was the dream of 1080p/1440p at 60+ frames with a single card. Fast forward to 2016, and thanks largely to the Taiwanese chip maker, TSMC, the industry has been stuck in a limbo struggling to improve the graphics hardware at hand.
1440p and 4K monitor and TVs have made their way to into our homes some time back, but sadly gaming on them at their native resolutions without shelling a fortune has remained a distant dream because of this stagnation that the industry has faced. But worry no more, 2016 comes bearing gifts in the form of the upgrade to the new 14/16nm process nodes.
In simple terms, you will see 2016 come with graphics hardware that would give almost double the performance for the same price point. More importantly for budget conscious users in India building low-cost builds you will get graphic cards that maintain performance but cost almost half as what you would be paying for a card right now.
This upgrade on the manufacturing side of things should allow for much, much more complex GPUs. To put things in perspective last year’s high-end cards such as the Gtx Titan X and the Radeon Fury X which maxed out at between 8-9 billion transistors will see their successors using the Pascal, and Arctic architecture house between 16-17 billion transistors, resulting in almost double the power, at the same cost. No amount of stress on this fact could explain how big a leap this will be for the gaming industry in the coming days.
This move up will also enable these new architecture cards to use second-generation stacked HBM (High Bandwith Memory) which will provide better optimization of VRAM(Video card memory) than what previous generation GDDR5 memory provided. First-generation of HBM only allowed 4GB of HBM RAM to be used, but improved bandwidth using the new process node could take this figure easily up to 16/32 GB of RAM.This could be especially useful for managing the high demands of 4K, multiple displays, and VR gaming that the future holds for us.
Add to this the added bonus of highly improved power efficiency leading to low chances of a need for an upgrade to a new expensive PSU, and possibly even decreased power bills, it just makes it more and more obvious as to why the average gamer should be excited about 2016.
With VR making for an increased push into our gaming world, and people looking at 1440 and 4k gaming seriously, these advancements in GPU tech could make all of it well within an average gaming enthusiasts reach in a few months time when the first cards carrying 14/16nm nodes hit the market.
And just to be clear, if VR, and high-resolution PC gaming isn’t your thing, the impact of this switch in process will extend across the market, and into your homes in one way or the other. This ripple effect might take some time but as the whole range of 14/16nm GPUs appears with new chips, we could very well be looking at not far off double the performance at any given price point by year’s end.
This move could also prompt console makers such as Sony, and Microsoft which use iterations of Radeon HD 7870, and 7790 to power their beasts to use the latest in GPU technology for cheaper consoles in a year’s time. So no matter what platform is your choice, 2016 is going to be a good time for all those who like to game.