This June is a good month to be a gamer. Both nVidia and AMD have announced new graphical processing units that exhibit vast improvements over the previous generation. After being stuck for almost four years on the now-primitive 28 nanometer lithography, the GPU manufacturers have jumped straight to 14 (AMD) and 16 (nVidia), skipping over the intermediate step of 20-22 nanometers.
In combination with switching over to multigate transistors^, this technological leap allows the new video cards to achieve a boost of up to 40% in performance at a much lower price than the previous generation. In terms of price/performance ratio, we’re looking at an improvement between 60% and 80%. That’s massive. We haven’t seen such a leap in GPU technology for many years.
It’s also important to note that nVidia and AMD are not directly competing this time around. nVidia took to the high end with its Pascal microarchitecture while AMD went mainstream with Polaris. AMD’s RX will offer the best value, but if you want maximum quality Virtual Reality gaming, then nVidia is your only option.
The new video cards aren’t widely available yet and a shortage can be expected in the coming months. But make no mistake; these new models will kick some serious pixel! I want to make sure you’re aware of this and for heaven’s sake, don’t buy any of the previous generation video cards. The new arrivals are making them beyond obsolete.
There are a lot of “trap products” out there right now. In a perfect example of bad timing, Asus just unveiled a beastly, liquid-cooled gaming laptop. Unfortunately, it has the obsolete GPUs inside. In six months, a lighter laptop will be more than capable of humiliating this one:
And don’t worry; there will be plenty of new video cards to choose from. MSI, a video card manufacturer, will release no less than five options using the same GeForce 1080 GPU. Talk about consumerism:
Last but not least, I’m very interested what these new GPUs will bring for a certain emerging product category: virtual reality backpacked computers. It was only a matter of time until some company would try to address the issue of people tripping onto the cables they use to connect their high-end Head Mounted Display to the computer. As goofy as it sounds, do not underestimate the temptation of VR gaming. These products will sell.
And, to confirm what I’ve just said, it turns out that it’s more than just one company developing these things. The only catch is that, unsurprisingly, manufacturers are using the recently obsoleted GPUs. I imagine that in about 6 months, when nVidia’s mobile Pascal will have shown up, these backpacks could become quite a product, especially for those interested in VR gaming: