The next generation of Nvidia graphics processor, Kepler would have passed the stage of the Tape Out, its design is fixed and sent to production for the manufacture of the first prototypes. According to our colleagues at Fudzilla, these prototypes were even already made, and give more satisfaction.
The quality of these first chips determines the possible release date for Kepler. If no defect is found, Nvidia could begin production immediately, but this ideal situation is unlikely. It may take a few corrections and a new pre-production, which requires several weeks for manufacturing and testing. In addition, Kepler is again manufactured by TSMC on their new 28 nm process. The availability of the Nvidia GPU again depend on the ability of TSMC to develop its 28 nm. If all goes well, launch and availability in volume is possible later this year in September.
However TSMC’s situation is still a bit more complicated than the previous year because the founder could have landed a new client size: Apple. The rumor persists that Apple will engrave its processor A5 in TSMC 28 nm (it is now engraved in 45 nm by Samsung). Production capacity in 28 nm TSMC will be shared between Nvidia, AMD (GPU for its Southern Islands) and Apple. Given the financial resources of the latter and the importance of launching the iPhone on September 5, we have some fears for Kepler.