NVIDIA is well known for making excellent gaming GPUs and they often release a new line of them every year. This time around the next set of GPUs, the GTX 8xx series, will be based on their new Maxwell architecture. Unfortunately there has not been any official word from NVIDIA about their new GPUs, but there has been a fair share of speculations and rumors. The newest rumor floating around the web is an alleged picture of the GTX 880’s PCB which can give us a good amount of information about the card.
Before diving into what the pictures tells us, you probably want to know why this is believed to the GTX 880. On a closeup of the GPU we can see it is labeled as ‘1421A1’. The ‘1421’ tells us that this specific chip was manufactured in the 21st week of 2014, which makes sense considering we are expecting the 880 this year. The other part of the label, 'A1', is the version number. Since the number is rather low we can assume this is an early version of a new GPU. Also labeled on the chip, is the country where it was manufactured, Taiwan. This makes perfect sense since NVIDIA uses the Taiwanese manufacturer, TSMC. Now with all of that out of the way, we can get into the technical specs.
From the picture we can see few recognizable features. The first things you notice are the memory chips (0.5GB Hynix H5GQ4H24MFR chips, which run at 3.5GHz, to specific). In the picture above you can see eight of them, but they are actually double sided. Therefore, there are sixteen in total which gives the card 8GB of memory. 8GB seems like a bit much for a typical consumer card, but with higher resolutions slowly becoming more popular it seems like a logical step. Right now VideoCardz is speculating that there will be a 4GB and an 8GB model, but this is just pure speculation. In addition to the memory, we can also see that there are gold fingers at the top of the PCB for SLI. This makes it seem like NVIDIA still wants to stick with their current SLI connectors rather than get rid of them, unlike AMD who has developed bridge-less Crossfire technology. The picture also shows us the power connectors, which are two 6-pins and one 8-pin. This would allow the card to a maximum amount of 375W. Although it can use up to 375W, it most likely won’t need to use all of the power in normal situations due to the power efficiency of Maxwell (as shown in the 750 ti).
Most importantly, we have the GPU itself. When the image was first leaked, no one really knew this chip's architecture. Fortunately, ComputerBase discovered that the lot number on the alleged 880 (T6A996...) is closely related to the lot number of GM204 chips (T6A995...). This suggests that the chip in the picture is using a Maxwell GM2xx architecture and is a step up from GM204 (could it be GM210?). Everything aforementioned should be taken with a grain of salt considering we really don’t know for sure what the architecture is and the card is a early test model. Either way, this GPU appears to definitely be a Maxwell chip and quite possibly the GM210.
Unfortunately, no one really knows if the picture is real, but based on what is visible it definitely looks like a real card. This puts some hope into those waiting for the GTX 880, especially since TSMC is allegedly having issues with the 20nm manufacturing process. The bad news is that we still really don’t have an estimate on when this card will be available to consumers. Unfortunately the TSMC issues have been said to delay 20nm Maxwell chips to 2015 and GM210 isn't expected until Q2 2015, so it’s quite possible we won’t see high end Maxwell cards this year. On the bright side, Maxwell has shown to be quite an efficient architecture and this pictures gives us more hope that the GTX 880 will be an amazing card.
Sources: Tomshardware, Videocardz, GamerSky, ComputerBase, Escapistmagazine