(Image credit: Fritzchens Fritz)

Renowned infrared (IR) photographer Fritzchens Fritz has delighted us with a couple high-resolution photographs of Nvidia’s GA102 Ampere silicon. The GA102, which is featured inside the GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 and is also rumored to power the upcoming GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.

With a die size of 628.4 mm-squared, the GA102 is, by far, Nvidia’s biggest mainstream Ampere gaming silicon. Fabricated on an optimized version of Samsung’s 8nm process, the GA102 bears an impressive 28.3 billion transistors. Building on Nvidia’s microarchitectures, Ampere proudly carries the latest second-generation RT cores for ray tracing and third-generation Tensor cores for artificial intelligence workloads.

If you look very closely at the die shot, you’ll see Ampere’s specifications come to life. The GA102, in particular, contains seven Graphics Processing Clusters (GPCs) whereby each GPC holds 12 Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs). Therefore, the GA102 die has a grand total of 84 SMs. Consequently, each SM contains 128 CUDA cores, four Tensor cores and one RT cores. A complete GA102 die works out to 10,752 CUDA cores, 336 Tensor cores and 84 RT cores.

(Image credit: Fritzchens Fritz)

Nvidia utilizes the GA102 silicon for various models. This helps the chipmaker maximize profits, since what doesn’t meet the requirements for a certain SKU can be used for a lower-tier model instead. 

So far, no Ampere-powered GeForce graphics card leverages the full GA102 die. The GeForce RTX 3090, which is the current flagship model and one of the best graphics cards for gamers, comes close though with 82 enabled SMs. The current configuration certainly leaves headroom for another SKU down the road should Nvidia see the need to release something faster than the GeForce RTX 3090 to rival AMD’s Big Navi army. Knowing Nvidia’s fighting spirit, we wouldn’t be surprised if a GeForce RTX 3090 Ti or a Titan-grade model is already in the works.

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