If rumors turn out to be true, the next-gen Nvidia GeForce RTX 5090 and other graphics cards would be made on 3nm tech. It also means that it would take some time before they are released.
When Nvidia released it’s RTX 40 graphics card series to much fanfare. It thought that they would sell a lot. There was a reason behind such assumption. In terms of performance, the RTX 4090 was above anything else ever made. There’s no competition to that card, no matter what it’s priced at.
However, due to the bad performance to price ratio of other cards in the series, the overall outlook for the RTX 40 series isn’t that great. They are expensive, they don’t offer that big a benefit in performance over RTX 30 series and hence, no one’s buying them.
So much so that some rumors suggest that Nvidia is sitting on a big inventory of RTX 40 series GPUs with them. Again, as no one’s buying them. Also, Nvidia seems in no mood to flood the market with these GPUs to make them available for cheaper. They would rather keep the demand and supply in control.
Another reason is, Nvidia seems to want to get rid of the RTX 30 inventory first. It’s only after that it can expect some more sales in the RTX 40 series. Meanwhile, in all this, we have some updates for the RTX 50 series.
RTX 50 Made By TSMC On 3nm
Some months ago, there were strong rumors that the RTX 50 series GPUs by Nvidia would be made by Samsung on 3nm tech. However, that seems unlikely now. Because Nvidia seems to be sticking to TSMC.
There are two sources to this rumor. First is well known leaker, @kopite7kimi on Twitter, who initially denied that Nvidia RTX 50 would be based on 3nm, but now seems to admit that he was wrong about it.
The second source is @RedGamingTech, who on his reply to @kopite7kimi confirms that.
He mentions that Nvidia RTX 50 is going to be on a custom process made by TSMC for Nvidia.
For the record, RTX 40 too is based on a custom process by TSMC. While it is 5nm, TSMC calls the custom process that it has specifically designed for Nvidia as 4N. So while TSMC might make RTX 50 on 3nm, it would name and design it slightly differently.
Another thing is, initially RedGamingTech believed that the whole lineup wouldn’t be based on 3nm and that the consumer graphics cards could still be on 4nm, but that seems wrong now. He says it seems that the whole lineup, including graphics cards that will be made for gamers, would be based on 3nm, which is a massive upgrade.
Why Nvidia Went With TSMC Over Samsung
The performance of Samsung is one big reason behind it. Samsung’s chips are, for now, of no competition to TSMC. Tom’s Hardware reports that recently even Samsung themselves have admitted that it will take them about a few years to get ahead of TSMC.
However, why Nvidia even considered Samsung in first place. The reason is, the RTX 30 series, which was based on a 8nm process, was made by Samsung. However, Samsung had a lot of production issues with them, so Nvidia went back to TSMC’s 4nm process in RTX 40.
Another thing why Nvidia even thought about Samsung was the cost of wafers made by TSMC.
It seems that TSMC used to sell 7nm process at $10,000 per wafer. For 5nm, it increased the price to $16,000 per wafer. Now it is demanding $20,000 per wafer. Which is again a big increase.
That’s why there’s nothing wrong in considering other alternatives. However, it’s possible that Nvidia isn’t satisfied with Samsung. So it has no option but to go with TSMC.
AMD RX 8000 GPUs
In all these things, where’s AMD. Those unaware, AMD too uses TSMC for making its CPUs and GPUs. However, TSMC doesn’t have any custom process for them.
The problem with TSMC, however, is that it’s 3nm process is almost fully booked. So will AMD RX 8000 stick to 5nm then. If so, Nvidia will again run away with the competition with it’s 3nm.
Or will AMD wait and go with 3nm no matter how much the cost and how much it gets delayed. Either way, for now, we don’t know. So it would be interesting how AMD decides to go with it.
All this means three things.
What all this means is that Nvidia’s RTX 50 going to be even more powerful than the RTX 40 series graphics cards. The performance benefits could be massive. We are talking about 5nm vs 3nm here.
Second is, Nvidia RTX 50 is going to cost even more. The likes of RTX 5090 could well have an MSRP of $2000 or even $2200. The reason being the extra cost of the 3nm process.
Third is, the RTX 40 graphics cards are not selling as they should. So it’s possible that Nvidia is in no hurry to bring RTX 50 in the market. Not to forget, TSMC could take time to deliver the 3nm chips. This means that it’s unlikely that we will get to see RTX 50 for at least a year and a half or even two years.
Meanwhile, let’s hope the both AMD and Nvidia release better budget and cheaper graphics cards in the RX 7000 and RTX 40 series respectively for the benefit of the users.
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