Nvidia’s RTX 40 series could be many months away from launch

There’s been a lot of talk on the web about Nvidia’s next-gen RTX 40 series. Some rumors suggested that the letters were in test (opens in new tab) and that a release has been scheduled for September if not before (opens in new tab). However, German tech website Igor’s Lab is indicating that there is still a lot of work to be done, suggesting that the previously rumored September release window is highly optimistic.

Igor has produced a speculative timeline (opens in new tab) which estimates the steps Nvidia needs to take before the cards are actually available. Perhaps the main conclusion is that the first GPU to be released is not yet out of the engineering and design phase. If that’s the case, AIB partners have yet to receive GPUs, not to mention a BIOS or driver. In fact, Igor believes that there are currently no working prototypes.

Of course, the real story is known only to Nvidia and its trusted partners. He has a good track record of keeping his pre-release secrets at home—despite hacks (opens in new tab). However, if this information is accurate, there will be a long time before you see it on our platforms.

There are a multitude of steps to take before they hit store shelves. First, prototypes need to be built and tested. This alone will take a significant amount of time. Firmware needs to be finalized and clocks and power levels need to be decided based on TSMC yields. The driver’s work is certainly ongoing and will require extensive validation and testing. Then there is the need to provide sample GPUs to AIBs for their own development and testing. Add in regional compliance testing and certification, mass production, logistics, and additional driver polishing, and it’s pretty hard to see how Nvidia can have the cards ready before the final months of 2022.

All this shows that developing highly complex GPUs is no easy task. Intel’s Arc boards still many weeks away at best (opens in new tab) while the release of AMD RDNA 3 Cards (opens in new tab) certainly not imminent. AMD wouldn’t have released an RX 6000 update if their next-gen cards were close to being ready.

Now that we’re in June, the odds are rising that gamers don’t have a realistic chance of having an RTX 40 card in their system this year. And those that do will be one of the few, especially if Nvidia comes forward with a low-volume RTX 4090 release to start with. A card like a 4070 might not even launch this year.

Take it all with the proverbial pinch of salt. One dishonest tweet could change the entire narrative, but as it stands now, the release of the RTX 40 cards doesn’t seem imminent. That’s okay though – at least we’ll have more time to save for new Zen 4 or 13th Gen systems to house them.

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