Nvidia’s ‘Big Pascal’ GPU Reportedly Taped-Out
Rumor has it that Nvidia has taped out ‘Big Pascal’ — its next generation GPU (Graphics Performance Unit) with high performance. The new GPU belongs to the Pascal family and if this rumor turns out to be true, we might witness the mighty Pascal somewhere in mid-2016.
In order to build the next gen Tesla accelerators, the company needs new graphics processor in order to compete with the AMD and for high performance computing apps. Apparently, an anonymous person has access to some confidential documents and has posted the information at Beyond3D. According to the information posted online, the next gen GPU is code named GP100.
The company producing world’s no. 1 GPUs will use 16nm FinFET fabrication technology from a Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in their GPU called the ‘Big Pascal’. It is possible that in this given tape out time frame, the company uses advanced 16nm FinFET+ (CLN16FF+) by TSMC (manufacturing technology).
What exactly does a tape-out mean nowadays, well apparently the company has finalized the design of the integrated circuit, however it may take a few months until finally a set of chips are produced. The IC’s artwork is sent to the photomaskers, they then finalize a pack of lithographic masks. After the masks are verified they are further sent to the chip manufacturers and they make first batch of chip sets.
It usually takes around 20 hours to write a standard mask and most of the masks today contain 50-70 photomasks, it can further extend till 100. So if we assume that this information is true and the tape-out of GP100 was forwarded in May by Nvidia, the first set of Big Pascal next generation GPU will be out in August.