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NVIDIA's Next Titan Might Be Imminent

By Ashraf Eassa - Dec 2, 2018 at 3:30PM

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NVIDIA's apparently prepping a new gaming king.

Back in August, graphics specialist NVIDIA (NVDA 5.38%) unveiled its latest Turing graphics architecture, as well as a range of graphics processing units (GPUs) based on that architecture, targeted at both the high-end gaming market and the professional visualization segment.

As far as high-end gaming goes, the top Turing-based product NVIDIA introduced was the RTX 2080 Ti. It's based on a chip that NVIDIA refers to as TU102, the company's most powerful Turing-based chip. 

NVIDIA's RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.

Image source: NVIDIA.

The RTX 2080 Ti, notably, isn't based on a fully enabled version of its TU102 chip. The company has some portions of the chip disabled, probably to improve manufacturing yields. Last month, I wrote about how NVIDIA could release a gaming-oriented halo product, sold under its Titan branding, based on a fully enabled version of the TU102 chip.

WCCFTech reported on a YouTuber who tweeted an image of the inside of his computer, showing what appears to be an unreleased NVIDIA Titan graphics card. If this image is real, it could suggest the imminent launch of a higher-end, and higher-priced, Titan card based on a fully enabled TU102.

Here's why it'd make sense for NVIDIA to get such a card out as soon as possible. 

Every little bit helps

NVIDIA shares recently plummeted because the company's most recently issued financial outlook came in well below expectations. Driving that weak outlook was that there's simply too much inventory of the company's mid-range Pascal-based products sitting in the channel as demand for GPUs for cryptocurrency mining has abated. CFO Colette Kress said the "Q4 outlook for gaming reflects very little shipment in the mid-range Pascal segment to allow channel inventory to normalize."

By introducing a new ultra high-end gaming GPU under its Titan branding, NVIDIA can drum up some excitement and positive press for its gaming products as a whole and can probably generate some incremental, high-margin revenue from sales of expensive graphics cards to gamers and PC enthusiasts with deep pockets.

And frankly, as long as NVIDIA can produce more than enough fully enabled TU102 chips to meet the demand for them from its professional visualization customers, why shouldn't the company start selling cards based on those chips to gamers, too?

Investor takeaway

Releasing a new ultra-high-end Titan graphics card isn't the sort of move that's going to compensate for what's happening in the midrange of NVIDIA's desktop GPU business, which Kress said " is typically about one-third of our gaming business."

Nevertheless, getting such a product out there would probably be trivially easy for NVIDIA to do at this point. The design is already done, fully enabled TU102 chips are already being sold -- under the Quadro brand to professional visualization customers -- and the company's Titan-based graphics cards tend to be products NVIDIA designs and sells directly through its website, so distributing these cards shouldn't be terribly difficult, either.

In short, I think the image the YouTuber posted of an upcoming NVIDIA Titan card is legitimate, and I wouldn't be surprised to see such a card hit the market quite soon.

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