Introducing Blackwell: Nvidia's Revolutionary Next-Gen GPU Architecture

Published March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest GPU innovation has arrived under the name Blackwell, marking the dawn of a new era for next-generation GPUs. With anticipation building over recent months, the reveal of this enterprise-focused GPU architecture provides insight into what Nvidia has in store for the future, including the gaming-centric RTX 50-series GPUs expected to launch in the coming year.

Nvidia's B200: A Glimpse into the Future

The unveiled B200, or Blackwell 200, boasts an impressive 208 billion transistors. Crafted using TSMC's 4NP node, an advancement over the 5nm process, the Blackwell series shows a slight edge over the existing Ada Lovelace GPUs which employ TSMC’s 4N node. Extrapolating from this custom process, Nvidia might be hinting at formidable efficiency and performance leaps ahead.

Distinctive Features of Blackwell

Nvidia has outlined six key innovations that differentiate Blackwell from its predecessors. The custom 4NP process leads the charge, enhancing connectivity between two GPU dies with a 10TB-per-second interconnect. Add to that an improved Transformer Engine capable of handling models twice the size of the last-gen and support for new 4-bit floating-point operations. The architecture also integrates the fifth-generation NVLink, allowing for scalable configurations up to 576 GPUs. With a focus on AI and enterprise needs, Blackwell includes enhanced AI security features, like confidential computing capabilities, alongside a robust RAS engine for reliable data center GPU performance.

Particularly exciting for gaming prospects is the new dedicated decompression engine within the B200. While currently enterprise-oriented, the positive impact of similar technology on gaming performance could be significant if incorporated into Nvidia’s future gaming GPUs.

Enterprise Integration and Beyond

On the enterprise front, Nvidia is already offering the Blackwell GPU within its server solutions, such as the HGX B200 that combines eight B200 GPUs, and the GB200 that pairs the B200 GPU with Nvidia's Grace CPU. An even more expansive setup features 72 B200 GPUs and 36 Grace CPUs bundled together as the GB200 NVL72.

For gaming enthusiasts, the prospect of Blackwell technology trickling down to consumer-level products is exhilarating. While the official launch window remains veiled, looking towards the end of the current year or early next could be when Nvidia unveils the Blackwell gaming GPUs, potentially charting a new direction for PC gaming performance and technological advancements.

Nvidia, Blackwell, GPU