nvidia logo NVIDIA sampling Kepler   GK107

NVIDIA has engineering samples out for its first chip based on the next-gen Kepler architecture. The chip is the same as revealed by SemiAccurate last week – GK107. As suggested by the nomenclature, this isn't the flagship GK100 we are all waiting for. Instead, NVIDIA is executing a bottom-to-top release, first releasing a smaller chip, GK107, which will find its way into notebooks. 

NVIDIA has engineering samples out for its first chip based on the next-gen Kepler architecture. The chip is the same as revealed by SemiAccurate last week – GK107. As suggested by the nomenclature, this isn't the flagship GK100 we are all waiting for. Instead, NVIDIA is executing a bottom-to-top release, first releasing a smaller chip, GK107, which will find its way into notebooks. 

GK107 is set to feature in four mobile GeForce SKUs – N13P-LP, N13P-GS, N13P-GT and N13E-GE. If these codenames sound familiar, it is because they have previously appeared in a leaked 28nm mobile GPU line-up. GK107 features a 128-bit memory interface, and supports DDR3 and GDDR5 memory. The first three GK107 based SKUs (with a "P" suffix) will likely succeed the GeForce GT 500M series, and will presumably be branded GeForce GT 600M series. The top GK107 part, N13E-GE, may succeed GTX 560M and be part of the GTX 600M series, as denoted by the "E" suffix (Enthusiast). In addition, GK107 will also be part of mobile Quadro SKUs – N14P-Q1 and N14P-Q3. 

GK107 marks the first time NVIDIA has moved to a new process and a new architecture simultaneously in a long time – mostly due to the cancelation of TSMC's 32nm process. NVIDIA's transition to TSMC's 40nm process featured a bottom-to-top strategy as well, with smaller GT21x shrinks leading up to the big Fermi dies. However, this is the first time that NVIDIA is releasing a new generation of GPUs with a mainstream part. Between reports of AMD's next-gen GPUs being pushed back to 2012 to now NVIDIA starting off with a small die, all evidence points towards the same conclusion – TSMC's 28nm process is promising to be just as troublesome as the infamous 40nm (if not more so). 

GK107 engineering samples are out now, with production samples due in January 2012 if all goes well. Unfortunately, there is no news about the more exciting Kepler chips, and there are no signs of them appearing in GeForce GPUs any time soon.