GeForce 900 series

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GeForce 900 Series
Release date September 2014
Codename Maxwell
Models GeForce Series
  • GeForce GT Series
  • GeForce GTX Series
Cards
Mid-range GeForce GTX 950M
GeForce GTX 950
GeForce GTX 960M
GeForce GTX 960
GeForce GTX 965M
High-end GeForce GTX 970M
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980M
GeForce GTX 980
Enthusiast GeForce GTX 980 "Notebook"
GeForce GTX 980 Ti
GeForce GTX Titan X
Rendering support
Direct3D Direct3D 11.3[1] and Direct3D 12, feature level 11_0 (GM10x) or 12_1 (GM20x)[1][2][3][4]
OpenCL 1.2[5]
OpenGL OpenGL 4.5
Vulkan Vulkan 1.0
SPIR-V
History
Predecessor GeForce 700 series
Successor GeForce 10 series

The GeForce 900 Series is a family of graphics processing units developed by Nvidia, used in desktop and laptop PCs. It serves as the high-end introduction for the Maxwell architecture (GM-codenamed chips), named after the Scottish theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell.

The Maxwell microarchitecture, the successor to Kepler microarchitecture, will for the first time feature an integrated ARM CPU of its own.[6] This will make Maxwell GPUs more independent from the main CPU, according to Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.[7] Nvidia expects three major things from the Maxwell architecture: improved graphics capabilities, simplified programming as well as better energy-efficiency compared to the GeForce 700 Series and GeForce 600 Series [8]

Maxwell was announced in September 2010.[9] The first GeForce consumer-class products based on the Maxwell architecture were released in early 2014.[10] Eventually, the Maxwell architecture will be used for mobile application processors that belong to the Erista family of Tegra SoCs.

Architecture[edit]

First generation Maxwell (GM10x)[edit]

First generation Maxwell GM107/GM108 were released as GeForce GTX 745, GTX 750/750 Ti and GTX 850M/860M (GM107) and GT 830M/840M (GM108). These new chips provide few consumer-facing additional features; Nvidia instead focused on power efficiency. Nvidia increased the amount of L2 cache from 256 KiB on GK107 to 2 MiB on GM107, reducing the memory bandwidth needed. Accordingly, Nvidia cut the memory bus from 192 bit on GK106 to 128 bit on GM107, further saving power.[11] Nvidia also changed the streaming multiprocessor design from that of Kepler (SMX), naming it SMM. The structure of the warp scheduler is inherited from Kepler, which allows each scheduler to issue up to two instructions that are independent from each other and are in order from the same warp. The layout of SMM units is partitioned so that each of the 4 warp schedulers in an SMM controls 1 set of 32 FP32 CUDA cores, 1 set of 8 load/store units, and 1 set of 8 special function units. This is in contrast to Kepler, where each SMX has 4 schedulers that schedule to a shared pool of 6 sets of 32 FP32 CUDA cores, 2 sets of 16 load/store units, and 2 sets of 16 special function units.[12] These units are connected by a crossbar that uses power to allow the resources to be shared.[12] This crossbar is removed in Maxwell.[12] Texture units and FP64 CUDA cores are still shared.[11] SMM allows for a finer-grain allocation of resources than SMX, saving power when the workload isn't optimal for shared resources. Nvidia claims a 128 CUDA core SMM has 86% of the performance of a 192 CUDA core SMX.[11] Also, each Graphics Processing Cluster, or GPC, contains up to 4 SMX units in Kepler, and up to 5 SMM units in first generation Maxwell.[11]

GM107 supports CUDA Compute Capability 5.0 compared to 3.5 on GK110/GK208 GPUs and 3.0 on GK10x GPUs. Dynamic Parallelism and HyperQ, two features in GK110/GK208 GPUs, are also supported across the entire Maxwell product line.

Maxwell provides native shared memory atomic operations for 32-bit integers and native shared memory 32-bit and 64-bit compare-and-swap (CAS), which can be used to implement other atomic functions.

Maxwell tile-based immediate mode rasterization.[13]

NVENC[edit]

Main article: Nvidia NVENC

Maxwell-based GPUs also contain the NVENC SIP block introduced with Kepler. Nvidia's video encoder, NVENC, is 1.5 to 2 times faster than on Kepler-based GPUs meaning it can encode video at 6 to 8 times playback speed.[11]

PureVideo[edit]

Main article: Nvidia PureVideo

Nvidia also claims an 8 to 10 times performance increase in PureVideo Feature Set E video decoding due to the video decoder cache paired with increases in memory efficiency. However, H.265 is not supported for full hardware decoding, relying on a mix of hardware and software decoding.[11] When decoding video, a new low power state "GC5" is used on Maxwell GPUs to conserve power.[11]

Second generation Maxwell (GM20x)[edit]

Second generation Maxwell introduced several new technologies: Dynamic Super Resolution,[14] Third Generation Delta Color Compression,[15] Multi-Pixel Programming Sampling,[16] Nvidia VXGI (Real-Time-Voxel-Global Illumination),[17] VR Direct,[18][19][20] Multi-Projection Acceleration,[15] and Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA)[21] however support for Coverage-Sampling Anti-Aliasing (CSAA) was removed.[22] HDMI 2.0 support was also added.[23][24]

Second generation Maxwell also changed the ROP to memory controller ratio from 8:1 to 16:1.[25] However, some of the ROPs are generally idle in the GTX 970 because there are not enough enabled SMMs to give them work to do and therefore reduces its maximum fill rate.[26]

Second generation Maxwell also has up to 4 SMM units per GPC, compared to 5 SMM units per GPC.[25]

GM204 supports CUDA Compute Capability 5.2 compared to 5.0 on GM107/GM108 GPUs, 3.5 on GK110/GK208 GPUs and 3.0 on GK10x GPUs.[15][25][27]

Maxwell second generation GM20x GPUs have an upgraded NVENC which supports HEVC encoding and adds support for H.264 encoding resolutions at 1440p/60FPS & 4K/60FPS compared to NVENC on Maxwell first generation GM10x GPUs which only supported H.264 1080p/60FPS encoding.[20]

Maxwell GM206 GPU supports full fixed function HEVC hardware decoding.[28][29]

Advertising controversy[edit]

GTX 970 hardware specifications[edit]

Issues with the GeForce GTX 970's specifications were first brought up by users when they found out that the cards, while featuring 4 GB of memory, rarely accessed memory over the 3.5 GB boundary. Further testing and investigation eventually led to Nvidia issuing a statement that the card's initially announced specifications had been altered without notice before the card was made commercially available, and that the card took a performance hit once memory over the 3.5 GB limit were put into use.[30][31][32]

The card's back-end hardware specifications, initially announced as being identical to those of the GeForce GTX 980, differed in the amount of L2 cache (1.75 MB versus 2 MB in the GeForce GTX 980) and the amount of ROPs (56 versus 64 in the 980). Additionally, it was revealed that the card was designed to access its memory as a 3.5 GB section, plus a 0.5 GB one, access to the latter being 7 times slower than the first one.[33] The company then went on to promise a specific driver modification in order to alleviate the performance issues produced by the cutbacks suffered by the card.[34] However, Nvidia later clarified that the promise had been a miscommunication and there would be no specific driver update for the GTX 970.[35] Nvidia claimed that it would assist customers who wanted refunds in obtaining them.[36] On February 26, 2015, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang went on record in Nvidia's official blog to apologize for the incident.[37] In February 2015 a class-action lawsuit alleging false advertising was filed against Nvidia and Gigabyte Technology in the U.S. District Court for Northern California.[38][39]

Nvidia revealed that it is able to disable individual units, each containing 256KB of L2 cache and 8 ROPs, without disabling whole memory controllers.[40] This comes at the cost of dividing the memory bus into high speed and low speed segments that cannot be accessed at the same time unless one segment is reading while the other segment is writing because the L2/ROP unit managing both of the GDDR5 controllers shares the read return channel and the write data bus between the two GDDR5 controllers and itself.[40] This is used in the GeForce GTX 970, which therefore can be described as having 3.5 GB in its high speed segment on a 224-bit bus and 0.5 GB in a low speed segment on a 32-bit bus.[40]

On July 27, 2016, Nvidia agreed to a preliminary settlement of the U.S. class action lawsuit,[38] offering a $30 refund on GTX 970 purchases. The agreed upon refund represents the portion of the cost of the storage and performance capabilities the consumers assumed they were obtaining when they purchased the card.[41]

Async compute support[edit]

While the Maxwell series was marketed as fully DirectX 12 compliant,[2][42][43] Oxide Games, developer of Ashes of the Singularity, uncovered that Maxwell-based cards do not perform well when async compute is utilized.[44][45][46][42]

It appears that while this core feature is in fact exposed by the driver,[47] Nvidia partially implemented it through a driver-based shim, coming at a high performance cost.[46] Unlike AMD's competing GCN-based graphics cards do include a full implementation of hardware-based asynchronous compute,[48][49] Nvidia planned to rely on the driver to implement a software queue and a software distributor to forward asyncronous tasks to the hardware schedulers, capable of distributing the workload to the correct units.[50] Asynchronous compute on Maxwell therefore requires that both a game and the GPU driver be specifically coded for asynchronous compute on Maxwell in order to enable this capability.[51] The 3DMark Time Spy benchmark shows no noticeable performance difference between asynchronous compute being enabled or disabled.[51] As of July 2016, asynchronous compute is disabled at driver level for Maxwell.[51]

Oxide claims that this led to Nvidia pressuring them not to include the asynchronous compute feature in their benchmark at all, so that the 900 series would not be at a disadvantage against AMD's DirectX 12 compliant products.[45] Nvidia is working together with Oxide on a full async compute implementation.[citation needed]

Maxwell requires that tasks be statically partitioned in the GPU to run concurrently.[52] This means that, if either the graphics queue or any of the compute queues empty out or are unable to submit work for any reason (e.g. a task in the queue must be delayed until a hazard is resolved), execution resources reserved for that queue will idle.[52] Asynchronous compute therefore could easily hurt performance on Maxwell if it is not coded to work with Maxwell's static scheduler.[52] Furthermore, graphics tasks saturate Nvidia GPUs much more easily than they do to AMD's GCN-based GPUs, which are much more heavily weighted towards compute, so Nvidia GPUs have fewer scheduling holes that could be filled by asynchronous compute than AMD's.[52] For this reason, in order to prevent Maxwell GPUs from being partitioned, the driver submits tasks one task at a time.[52]

Products[edit]

GeForce 900 (9xx) series[edit]

Model Launch Code name Fab (nm) Transistors (million) Die size (mm2) Bus interface Core config[a] Clock speeds Fillrate Memory API support (version) Processing power (GFLOPS) TDP (watts) SLI support[b] Release price (USD)
Base core clock (MHz) Boost core clock (MHz) Memory (MT/s) Pixel (GP/s)[c] Texture (GT/s)[d] Size (MiB)[e] Bandwidth (GB/s)[e] Bus type Bus width (bit)[e] DirectX OpenGL OpenCL Vulkan Single precision[f] Double precision[g]
GeForce GTX 950[55] August 20, 2015 GM206 28 2940 227 PCIe 3.0 x16 768:48:32 1024 1188 6610 32.7 49.2 2048
4096
106 GDDR5 128 12.0 (12_1)[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 1572 49.1 90 2-way $159
GeForce GTX 950 (OEM)[56] Unknown 1024:64:32 935 Unknown 5010 29.9 59.8 2048 80 1915 59.8 Unknown N/A OEM
GeForce GTX 960[57] January 22, 2015 1127 1178 7010 39.3 72.1 2048
4096
112 2308 72.1 120 2-way $199
GeForce GTX 960 (OEM)[58] Unknown GM204 5200 398 1280:80:48 924 Unknown 5010 44.4 73.9 3072 120 192 2365 73.9 Unknown OEM
GeForce GTX 970[59] September 18, 2014 1664:104:56[60] 1050 1178 7010 54.6 109.2 3584+512[61] 196+28[62] 224+32[40] 3494 109 145 3-way $329
GeForce GTX 980[43] 2048:128:64 1126 1216 72.1 144 4096 224 256 4612 144 165 4-way $549
GeForce GTX 980 Ti[63] June 2, 2015 GM200 8000 601 2816:176:96 1000 1076 96 176 6144 336 384 5632 176 250 $649
GeForce GTX Titan X[64][65][66] March 17, 2015 3072:192:96 1089 192 12288 6144 192 $999

GeForce 900M (9xxM) series[edit]

Some implementations may use different specifications.

Model Launch Code name Fab (nm) Transistors (million) Die size (mm2) Bus interface Core config[a] Clock speeds Fillrate Memory API support (version) Processing power (GFLOPS) TDP (watts) SLI support[b]
Base core clock (MHz) Boost core clock (MHz) Memory (MT/s) Pixel (GP/s)[c] Texture (GT/s)[d] Size (MiB) Bandwidth (GB/s) Bus type Bus width (bit) DirectX OpenGL OpenCL Vulkan Single precision[f] Double precision[g]
GeForce 910M[67] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown DDR3 Unknown 12.0 4.5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce 920M[68][69][70] March 13, 2015 GF117 28 585 116 PCIe 3.0 x8 384:16:8 775 1550 1800 3.1 12.4 1024 14.4 DDR3 64 12.0 4.5 1.1 No 595.2 Unknown 33 No
GK208 Unknown 87 575 575 4.6 9.2 2048 1.2 1.0 441.6 18.4
GeForce 920MX[71] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown DDR3 GDDR5 Unknown 12.0 4.5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce 930M[72][73] March 13, 2015 GM108 28 Unknown Unknown PCIe 3.0 x8 384:16:8 1029 1124 2002 8.23 16.5 1024 2048 16 DDR3 64 12.0 4.5 1.2 1.0 790.3 24.7 33 No
GeForce 930MX[74] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown DDR3 GDDR5 Unknown 12.0 4.5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce 940M[75][76][77] March 13, 2015 GM107 28 1870 148 PCIe 3.0 x16 640:40:16 1029 1100 2002 16.5 41.2 2048 16 - 80.2 GDDR5 DDR3 128 12.0 4.5 1.2 1.0 1317 41.1 75 No
GM108 Unknown Unknown PCIe 3.0 x8 384:16:8 8.2 16.5 64 790.3 24.7 33
GeForce 940MX[78] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown DDR3 GDDR5 Unknown 12.0 4.5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce 945M[79] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown DDR3 GDDR5 Unknown 12.0 4.5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce GT 945A[80] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown 1024 Unknown GDDR5 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
GeForce GTX 950M[81][82] March 13, 2015 GM107 28 1870 148 PCIe 3.0 x16 640:40:16 914 1085 5012 14.6 36.6 2048 80 GDDR5 128 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 1170 36.56 75 No
GeForce GTX 960M[83][84] March 13, 2015 GM107 28 1870 148 PCIe 3.0 x16 640:40:16 1029 1085 5012 16.5 41.2 2048 80 GDDR5 128 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 1317 41.16 65 No
GeForce GTX 965M[85][86] January 5, 2015 GM204 28 5200 398 PCIe 3.0 x16 1024:64:32 924 950 5000 30.2 60.4 2048 80 GDDR5 128 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 1945 60.78 60 [87] Yes
GeForce GTX 970M[88] October 7, 2014 GM204 28 5200 398 PCIe 3.0 x16 1280:80:48 924 993 5012 37.0 73.9 3072
6144
120 GDDR5 192[89] 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 2365 73.9 75 Yes
GeForce GTX 980M[90] October 7, 2014 GM204 28 5200 398 PCIe 3.0 x16 1536:96:64 1038 1127 5012 49.8 99.6 4096
8192
160 GDDR5 256[89] 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 3189 99.6 100 Yes
GeForce GTX 980 (Notebook)[91] September 22, 2015 GM204 28 5200 398 PCIe 3.0 x16 2048:128:64 1064 1216 7010 72.1 144 4096
8192
224 GDDR5 256 12.0[1][4] 4.5 1.2[5] 1.0 4612 144 145 Yes
  1. ^ a b Shader Processors : Texture mapping units : Render output units
  2. ^ a b A maximum of 2 dual-GPU cards can be connected in tandem for a 4-way SLI configuration as dual-GPU cards feature on-board 2-way SLI.
  3. ^ a b Pixel fillrate is calculated as the lowest of three numbers: number of ROPs multiplied by the base core clock speed, number of rasterizers multiplied by the number of fragments they can generate per rasterizer multiplied by the base core clock speed, and the number of streaming multiprocessors multiplied by the number of fragments per clock that they can output multiplied by the base clock rate.[26]
  4. ^ a b Texture fillrate is calculated as the number of TMUs multiplied by the base core clock speed.
  5. ^ a b c Due to the disabling of one L2 cache/ROP unit without disabling all of the memory controllers attached to the disabled unit in the GTX 970, the memory in this GPU has been segmented. One segment must be reading while the other must be writing to achieve the peak speed. Since the peak speed is impossible to reach with pure reads or pure writes, these segments and their associated buses are split in this table.
  6. ^ a b Single precision performance is calculated as 2 times the number of shaders multiplied by the base core clock speed.
  7. ^ a b Double precision performance of the Maxwell chips' are 1/32 of single-precision performance.[53][54]

Chipset table[edit]

Future[edit]

After Maxwell, the next architecture is code-named Pascal.[92][93] Nvidia has announced that the Pascal GPU will feature stacked DRAM, unified memory, and NVLink.[92][93] The first GPU based on the Pascal architecture, the GeForce GTX 1080, was released May 27, 2016.[94]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  80. ^ NVIDIA™ GeForce GT 945A (1GB GDDR5) user-selectable by application via NVIDIA Control Panel http://store.hp.com/us/en/ContentView?catalogId=10051&langId=-1&storeId=10151&eSpotName=Sprout-Pro#!
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External links[edit]