Volta is the new graphics architecture released by Nvidia. The new architecture is yet to be made available to the consumer market at large. Volta is what is set to replace the Pascal Graphics architecture. What changes does it bring up with it? Nvidia Volta will come with the DirectX 12 support and configured to deliver advanced async capabilities. We will check both the architectures (Nvidia Volta vs. Pascal) and compare them to arrive at what we would be able to expect.
Nvidia Volta vs. Pascal – Spec Comparison
Nvidia has recently launched the latest Volta Graphic architecture as a successor to Pascal architecture. The architecture would be used to govern the performance of their graphics cards. In fact, being the latest graphics architecture, it would indeed bring more significant improvements and enhancements with its deployment.
Both Nvidia Volta and Nvidia Pascal are graphics architecture options obviously from Nvidia and are designed to enhance the computer performance. We will check both of these architectures for their features and then compare them based on their features and capabilities.
Nvidia Pascal Graphics Architecture – An Overview
Pascal is an advanced graphics architecture coming from Nvidia. The Pascal architecture is used in the GeForce range of gaming graphics cards and other WorkStation graphics cards like P Series.
The graphics cards running on Pascal would run on the 14nm / 16nm FinFET manufacturing systems. The Pascal graphics architecture supports GDDR5, GDDR5X, and HBM2 memories. For those who are unaware, the GDDR5 memory is used for budget and mid-range graphics cards, while the GDDR5X would be the memory supported on high-end architecture-based graphics cards. The HBM2 is the memory used in high-end workstations graphics cards.
Some of the features you would find on the Pascal architecture are –
- The architecture supports VR (Consumption & Development)
- The workstation graphics cards offer NVLink functionality.
- You would find support for DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, and Vulkan.
- The Pascal architecture supports Multi-GPU SLI Technology like their consumer GeForce graphics cards.
- It features CUDA cores.
Volta Graphics Architecture – An Overview
Volta happens to be the latest in the series for the graphics architecture from Nvidia. The dominant feature that would make it one of the best choices is the power that it packs in. Designed to succeed the Pascal graphics architecture we just featured above, Volta Graphics Architecture uses Tensor cores in addition to the CUDA cores.
The Volta Graphic Architecture is what would support Architectural Intelligence. That would make them suitable for the machine learning and similar other high-end performances. It would run on high-end 12nm manufacturing processes. The Volta graphics architecture would work on HBM2 memory. You can be assured of excellent computer performance.
Some salient features of Volta Graphics Architecture can be summarised as –
- It works on Tensor Cores and supports artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- Support for NVLink 2.0 would offer you a higher bandwidth.
- The architecture would support high-performance graphics cards.
- Increased number of CUDA Cores should mean improved performance.
The Comparison Chart for Volta and Pascal Architectures
A tabulated compilation of the features would provide you an excellent option for the perfect comparison between the two graphics architectures. We present the comparison in the form of the chart here –
|Supported graphics cards||GeForce 10 series, Titan XP, P series workstation graphics cards||Titan V|
|Supported memory types||GDDR5, GDDR5X, HBM2||HBM2|
|Manufacturing Process||14nm or 16 nm||12 nm|
|Support for VR||Yes||Yes|
|DirectX version supported||Yes, 12||Yes, 12|
|Open GL support||Yes||Yes|
|Support for Multiple GPUs||Yes, in just a few cards, NVLink, SLI||NVLink 2|
|Support Applications||Gaming or WorkStation||Gaming/ workstation/ Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and gaming|
|Power Consumption||250 W||250 W|
|Die Size||471 sq.mm||815 sq.mm|
|Transistor Count||12 billion||21 billion|
|Number of CUDA cores||3840||5120|
|Number of Tensor Cores||Nil||640|
|SMMS or SMXs||30||40|
|GPU Clock Cores||1405 MHz||1200 Mhz|
|Memory Bus||384 bit||3072 bit|
|Memory Bandwidth||547 GB per sec||653 GB per sec|
What Changes would you find in Volta?
Well, Volta is indeed a vast improvement over Pascal. Though we are not belittling Pascal in any way, Volta is set to bring in newer changes in the functionality of the architecture with a few enhancements in their own right.
Some of them can be summed up as –
- An enhanced base architecture on Volta should work towards improved performance in its own right.
- Volta brings in new Tensor Cores. These would enhance the Artifical Intelligence compatibility.
- Increased number of CUDA cores as Volta comes with 5210 cores as opposed to 3840 on Pascal.
- The 3072-bit interface in a considerable improvement as compared to the highest 384 bit on GDDR5X.
Apart from the above enhancements, we also observed a few cons as well. The clock speed has been reduced in comparison with the Pascal. We would not find it an exceptionally colossal disappointment either.
The service and the architecture are expected to grow still further. We have an expectation (or should we say a hunch feeling) that the newer versions of Volta Graphics architecture will indeed bring more modern enhancements to support the future technologies.
Given the performance improvements and need for the enhanced architectural optimizations, it should be inherently apt to expect more powerful GPUs in the future. From that perspective, it should a valid expectation find them getting more power in the days ahead. The Volta architecture for the graphics is a perfect upgrade for the high-end graphics cards we would be looking forward to.
In fact, the first graphics card has already been out in the form of Titan V. However, that would not mean the previous graphics architecture like Pascal is inferior in any nature. It does not too far behind regard performance characteristics.
We assume that the comparison provided in this post should be helpful enough for you in arriving at the proper understanding of the differences between the two siblings from Nvidia. In any case, the future belongs to Volta, and we would expect huge enhancements.