NVIDIA has been working on their flagship graphics card for the GeForce 800 series, this will effectively replace the 700 series cards. These new cards will feature NVIDIA’s Maxwell graphics processing unit. There have been rumors that NVIDIA will launch this card in Q4 of this year. Chinese website GamerSky has leaked photos of the first engineering sample of the card.
So what exactly are we looking at here? This is an engineering sample (ES) board. The Maxwell core has the label “1421A1”, which is the A1 revision that was prepared in the month of May (19-25) or the first 21 weeks of 2014. As we get closer to the final launch of this card we could see A2 and B1 revisions of the chip.
Lets first concentrate on the GPU core, it is unsure whether this card will be using the Maxwell GM204 or the GM210. Looking at the actual size of the GPU we can speculate that the chip being used is the GM204. We believe this because the GPU size is larger than the GK104/GK114 which was featured on the GeForce GTX 680 and GeForce GTX 780 cards, but smaller than the GK110. Here is a comparison of chips by VideoCardz.
Some people may think that the large core size would mean that this card would be using the GM210, but that is not true. NVIDIA increased the die size of their Maxwell GM107 chip compared to its predecessor the GK107 (148mm2 vs 118mm2). So this is the GM204 core, which does not confirm that this will be the final chip used on the card. NVIDIA could be using this chip to test stability, overclocking ability and much more. That is what is done in the ES phase.
The card is outfitted with an impressive 8GB of GDDR5 memory, this will be a nice upgrade from the current generation of cards. These are SKHynix H5GQ4H24MFR 0.5GB modules that run at 7 GHz effective speed. There are 8 chips on the front of the card and 8 on the back. There are rumors that the GeForce GTX 880 will launch as a 4 GB card and 8 GB versions will come later.
The ES sample is equipped with 3 power connectors (6+6+8pin). We are not expecting Maxwell to use this much power, but again this is an ES sample so don’t expect this to be even close to the final power make up. There are SLI connectors at the top of the card as well.
It is unclear why sections of the card are pixelated. What is hiding behind there? It could be ARM cores? Or other components NVIDIA does not want us to know about yet. Also for those wondering the final version of the card will not have a green PCB, all ES samples have a green PCB.