Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU

Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU

Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU

Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU

At GTC 2017 Nvidia announced their new GV100, Tesla V100 GPU, the companies first Volta series part. This will be part of Nvidia's Volta series of dedicated compute GPUs, which will support NVLink and come with dedicated FP64 compute cores, as well as traditional FP32 compute cores. 

This new GPU will come with a total of 7.5TFLOPs of FP64 compute power and 15TFLOPs of FP32 compute power, which is simply huge for any GPU. This performance is not achieved by increased clock speeds like in Pascal, but by using additional CUDA processors, with the GPU containing a total of 5,120 CUDA cores.   

Below is a table comparing Nvidia's Tesla V100 GPU to last year's Tesla P100, as well as some recent gaming GPUs from the company. Please note that the gaming oriented GPUs listed have a smaller die size due to their decreased silicon complexity/lack of FP64 compute cores etc. 


 Tesla V100Tesla P100GTX Titan XpGTX 1080 TiGTX 1080GTX 980 Ti 
GPU ArchitectureVoltaPascalPascal PascalPascalMaxwell
Process node12nm16nm16nm 16nm16nm28nm
Die Size (mm^2)815mm^2610mm^2471mm^2471mm^2314mm^2601mm^2
FP32 TFLOPs1510.61210.68.25.63
Transistor Count21.1B15.3B12B12B7.2B5.2B
CUDA Core Count51203584 3840358425602816
ROPs128 (?)96 96886496
Memory Clock874MHz700MHz 11408MHz11008MHz10008MHz7000Mhz
VRAM Cappacity16GB16GB12GB 11GB8GB 6GB
Memory Bus Size4096-bit4096-bit 384-bit352-bit256-bit 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth900GB/s720GB/s547.7GB/s 484 GB/s320 GB/s 336GB/s
Base clock speed-1328MHz 1480MHz1480MHz1607MHz 1000MHz
Boost clock speed1455MHz1480MHz1582MHz1582MHz1733MHz 1089MHz
TDP300W300W250W 250W180W 250W
Power Connection--1x 8-pin 1x 6-pin 

1x 8-pin 1x 6-pin

1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 6-pin
PCI Express NVLink 2.0NVLink 1.0 PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0


Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU


When looking at these specifications we can see that the Tesla V100 comes with a similar design to Nvidia's Pascal Tesla P100, with the same number of CUDA cores per SM but with a 42% increase in total core count. This results in a huge increase die size, which could result in yield issues for Nvidia.   

In manufacturing silicon dies, size is a huge factor. In every silicon wafer there will be defects and when manufacturers make larger chips these defects will harm an ever larger proportion of the chips produced, harming production yield in the process. 

Imagine that in a silicon wafer that there are 10 major defects and that when making a small chip that you create 180 dies per wafer, this will result in 10 faulty chips and a failure rate of 5%. Then imagine that you are creating a larger chip and you only get 60 dies per wafer, resulting in the same 10 faulty chips and a failure rate of 16%. These numbers are just for illustration purposes and are not to be taken as actual yield rates at a foundry, but it does illustrate the reason why larger dies are more prone to having faults and therefore suffer from lower yields than silicon with smaller die sizes.  

Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU


When it comes to die sizes there are also other factors to consider, like the fact that silicon wafers are circular. You can only fit a certain number of square sides within a circle and larger dies will result in additional wasted space at the edges of a silicon wafer. This again reduces the number of dies per wafer and will increase the price of each chip in a wafer. 

One interesting thing to note is that the Tesla V100 comes with clock speeds that are 25MHz lower than Nvidia's Pascal based P100 and over 100MHz lower than the GTX 1080 Ti, which could mean that Volta will not come with a large increase in clock speeds over Pascal.   

  Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU


What Nvidia has added in their Volta architecture is a "new Tensor core", which are designed to benefit Volta when doing mass processing for deep learning. At this time it is unknown how much these new cores will benefit Volta outside of Deep learning, or if they will even be present in Volta's gaming/consumer Geforce GPUs.  

Nvidia claims that their Volta V100 is the largest GPU that can currently be produced using modern process technology, with this new chip easily dwarfing the companies older GPU designs despite using TSMC's new 12nm process. 

Additional information on Nvidia's Volta Tesla V100 GPU


Nvidia has been clear that Volta is not just Pascal with Tensor cores, calling Volta their largest GPU redesign since Firmi, though the company has confirmed that their Volta server GPUs will not be releasing until Q3 of 2017. 

It is unlikely that we will be seeing consumer Volta anytime before this, especially with the recent releases of the GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp. 

Even if Nvidia were to try and release a consumer version of Volta within that timeframe it would certainly not be GPUs to the scale shown here, as only with the release of the GTX 1080 Ti have consumers been able to purchase GPUs that have similar core counts to the Pascal P100. Beyond this, it is also unknown if Nvidia plans on releasing consumer versions of Volta with HBM2 or a different memory standard like GDDR6, the latter of which is due to release in early 2018. 


You can join the discussion on Nvidia's Volta architecture and the Tesla V100 on the OC3D Forums


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Most Recent Comments

11-05-2017, 11:35:23

Power efficiency is going to be pretty good considering its the same as before but has many more cores on it. Wonder how heat will cope though with so many transistors on a 12nm designQuote

11-05-2017, 11:59:05

AIO solution would be ideal, but for server use that is hard to pull out. They will probably redesign their blower cooler. Full copper, vapor chamber, many fins, and very fast industrial fan.Quote

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