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Rumor: Nvidia readying new mobile mainstream GPUs

nvidia gamescom gtx 1000 mobile gpus booth sign building headquarters convention group
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Much as we love to drool over the Titan graphics cards of the world, with their ludicrous performance and price tags, the mainstream GPUs are where most of the money is made for companies like Nvidia. With that in mind, a rumor has emerged that suggests that the GPU manufacturer could be working on a new line of mainstream graphics chips to replace the current lineup — way before next year’s expected Maxwell debut.

According to the rumor, Nvidia will be replacing the current 920M, 930M, and 940M, none of which are powerhouses, though they are rather capable. Despite that, Nvidia is said by an “industry insider,” (as per NoteBookCheck) to be looking to release upgraded versions of those chips, which will be called 920MX, 930MX, and 940MX.

We’re told that these chips would deliver even higher performance than current generation hardware, though not with any drastic changes to the core. The GPU itself would be largely the same, with a TDP that hasn’t shifted. What is different is the memory support; all of these chips will natively support GDDR5 memory, which could give them a decent performance boost.

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Indeed, it may be that these sorts of chips are similar to the custom GPU that was found in Microsoft’s Surface book, which also supported GDDR5.

The newer generation memory support is said to be optional, so some manufacturers that build lower-cost systems may opt for the more traditional GDDR4, though it’s not clear if these newer chips will see much improvement over their predecessors.

The story will likely be different for gaming-focused laptops, however. Switching to GDDR5 in laptops like the Surface Book saw big performance gains in frame rate, in some cases by as much as 25 percent, especially at higher resolutions and detail levels. Clearly, memory bandwidth is holding back the performance of Nvidia’s mobile GPUs, so enabling support for higher-performing memory makes a lot of sense.

Presumably, we will be looking at mobile chips from the Maxwell line of GPUs next year, at which point we may well see High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) supported. Whether it will be first or second generation is anyone’s guess.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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