In May 2016, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) launched its first graphics processors based on its then-new Pascal architecture. NVIDIA's Pascal-based graphics processors delivered large improvements in both performance and power efficiency compared to their Maxwell-based predecessors thanks to design enhancements as well as migration to an all-new 16-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.
The Pascal products have proven wildly successful for NVIDIA, powering substantial growth in the company's gaming business by driving both average selling price and unit shipment growth.
According to information presented at NVIDIA's recent analyst day, roughly 30% of all gamers who use NVIDIA graphics processors are using Pascal-based products, suggesting that the current Pascal products could have significant room to run.
Nevertheless, NVIDIA can't keep selling Pascal-based graphics cards indefinitely, and the time will come for the company to introduce newer, faster graphics processors. According to a user going by the name "Erinyes" on the Beyond3D forums -- an individual who has previously posted accurate information about upcoming NVIDIA graphics processors -- NVIDIA is set to introduce the successor to Pascal, known as Turing, late in the third quarter of 2018.
Let's go over everything Erinyes had to say about Turing.
First silicon coming back shortly
Erinyes said that NVIDIA is apparently expecting the first Turing-based chips to come back from its chip manufacturing partner -- which is almost certainly Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company -- "any day now."
This post was made on Wednesday, March 28, so NVIDIA might already have the first Turing processors back from the factory.
Now, getting the first chips back from the factory doesn't mean that the chip or chips (NVIDIA is likely building multiple chips based on its Turing architecture to address different segments of the gaming market) are going to be on the market shortly thereafter.
NVIDIA needs to ensure that the chips work as expected. If they don't, NVIDIA will need to make corrections to the design and then wait another few months for the next revisions of the chips to come back.
Even if the chips come back, work as expected, and are ready for mass production, it still takes quite a while for final production chips to begin rolling off the manufacturing lines (it takes about three months for a silicon wafer to be fully processed). Once those chips are back, NVIDIA still needs to build the add-in cards that incorporate those chips, which adds more time to the process of getting Turing-based products into the hands of gamers.
Another thing to keep in mind, too, is that graphics processors are highly dependent on the software that accompanies them, commonly known as drivers. Robust drivers are crucial to getting the most performance out of a graphics processor architecture, so in addition to having the chips ready, NVIDIA will also need to have the initial drivers for Turing ready to go. The nice thing about drivers, though, is that they can be updated over time, unlocking additional performance.
All told, Erinyes says that NVIDIA is targeting a "late Q3" launch for Turing-based products, so, if that's right, you shouldn't expect to be able to buy such products until roughly September.