In May 2016, graphics chip specialist NVIDIA (NVDA -3.97%) began rolling gaming-oriented graphics processors based on its then-new Pascal architecture. The first products out of the chute were the GeForce GTX 1070 and its more powerful sibling, the GeForce GTX 1080, targeted at the high-end of the personal computer gaming market.
These processors were notable because they delivered substantial improvements in performance and power efficiency over their predecessors, thanks to the use of a new manufacturing technology, as well as significant design work on NVIDIA's part.
Since then, NVIDIA has released additional gaming products based on its Pascal architecture, including lower-power, lower-cost GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce GTX 1050, and higher-end offerings like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and the brawny Titan Xp for gamers willing to spend big bucks for the best possible performance.
GPUs based on the Pascal architecture have been hugely successful for NVIDIA, helping to power significant growth in both the company's gaming business and its booming data center accelerator business.
Per rumors from MyDrivers and Baidu, spotted by graphics card-oriented news website VideoCardz, NVIDIA is preparing a new Pascal-based graphics processor for the gaming market, to be called the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti.
Slotting in between the 1070 and 1080
NVIDIA's MSRP for the GeForce GTX 1070 is $379 (though good luck finding one at this price, thanks to the cryptocurrency mining boom, which has dramatically increased demand for the GTX 1070, as well as other graphics processors). The GeForce GTX 1080's MSRP sits $120 higher at $499.
Based on NVIDIA's traditional naming scheme, the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti should be a higher-end product than the GeForce GTX 1070 but would sit lower than the GeForce GTX 1080 on both pricing and performance.
How might NVIDIA price the 1070 Ti?
I see two possible scenarios with respect to the potential MSRP for the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti -- assuming, of course, that it's real and comes to market.
First, it could simply sit smack-dab in the middle of the GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1080 on the pricing table at around $439. The purpose of a GPU at that price would be to try to upsell potential GeForce GTX 1070 buyers who aren't quite ready to drop the cash required on the GeForce GTX 1080.
That could work, but the added revenue from those upsells could be offset if some potential GeForce GTX 1080 buyers opted to go down a notch to the new GPU, saving some money with a product that's "close enough" in performance.
Another possibility -- and, frankly, it's one that I think is more sensible -- would be that NVIDIA would drop pricing on the GeForce GTX 1070, then slot in the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti at the about the price point that earlier product previously occupied.
Such a move would have the effect of increasing the performance-per-dollar of some of its offerings, potentially stimulating demand during the holiday season (which, not-so-coincidentally, is when several high-profile PC games are set to launch).