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nVidia’s quick move to 28nm secures laptop business for 2012

The launch of Fermi (GTX480) was a wake up call for nVidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang and co. While the huge GPU satisfies a gamer's willy-waving urges, it seemed a little out of place with the economic downturn and global warming worries. The new Kepler series has a different psychology. Will it help nVidia take market share?

The weakened processing capability of the iPad, combined with incredible battery life, has shown the work where the future lies. Laptop manufacturers need to be able to show extensive battery life – alongside a full feature set.

While the Tegra 3 chip is looking to be a bit of a darling in the ultra-portable/entry-level space, nVidia sees Kepler technology winning back some of the mainstream laptop market.

As KitGuru regulars know, the UK market is now almost 3:1 in favour of laptops over desktops. Once a 1.3 million unit business, it's possible that the UK market for desktop graphics cards could dip below 600,000 for the first time in 2012.

With all of the growth coming in the mobile sector, performance per watt will become key. AMD's DX11 launch ensured a huge amount of 3D success in both the desktop and mobile space, but nVidia has been fighting back – while Intel pushes hard to improve its own offering at the same time.

So what is being claimed?  Well, nVidia's move to the 500 series was a marked improvement over the original Fermi 400 series. For the Kepler/600 series, they have targeted themselves to achieve a 300% improvement in performance per watt. Laudable ambition – but only time (and the KitGuru Lab) will be able to tell if it has succeeded.

Either way, the consumer is going to be a winner, with the kind of mobile solution being offered at Christmas 2012 looking certain to be streets ahead of December 2011.

Just like the classic tail itself, the 3 Marketeers of Otellini, Read and Huang have been joined by a fourth. ARM's Warren East

KitGuru says: Will we see a huge numbers battle in 2012? Will the combined marketeers of Intel, nVidia and AMD attempt to engage us in a war of MEGA/GIGA/TERA FLOPs per Watt?   We await the battle of the next-gen charts with eager anticipation.

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