Nvidia Reveals Ada Lovelace GPU Secrets: Extreme Transistor Counts at High Clocks

When Nvidia introduced its Ada Lovelace family of graphics processing units earlier this week, it mainly focused on its top-of-the-range AD102 GPU and its flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. It didn’t release too many details about its AD103 and AD104 graphics chips. Fortunately, Nvidia uploaded its Ada Lovelace whitepaper today that contains loads of data about the new GPUs and fills in many gaps. We’ve updated the RTX 40-series GPUs everything we know hub with the new details, but here’s the overview of the new and interesting information.

Big GPUs for Big Gaming

We already know that Nvidia’s range-topping AD102 is a 608-mm^2 GPU containing 76.3 billion transistors, 18,432 CUDA cores, and 96MB of L2 cache. We now also know that AD103 is a 378.6 mm^2 graphics processor featuring 45.9 billion transistors, 10,240 CUDA cores, and 64MB L2 cache. As for the AD104, it has a die size of 294.5 mm^2, 35.8 billion transistors, 7680 CUDA cores, and 48MB of L2.

Nvidia Ada Specifications vs. Ampere
GPU/Graphics CardFull AD102RTX 4090RTX 4080 16GBRTX 4080 12GBRTX 3090Ti
Process TechnologyTSMC 4NTSMC 4NTSMC 4NTSMC 4NSamsung 8LPP
Transistors (Billions)76.376.345.935.828.3
Die size (mm^2)608608378.6294.5628.4
Streaming Multiprocessors144128766084
GPU Cores (Shaders)18432163849728768010752
tensor cores576512320240336
Ray Tracing Cores144144806084
L2 Cache (MB)969664486
Boost Clock(MHz)?2520250526001860
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)?82.648.740.140.0
TFLOPS FP16 (FP8)?661 (1321)390 (780)319 (639)320 (N/A)
TFLOPS Ray Tracing?1911138278.1
Memory interface (bit)384384256192384
Memory Speed ​​(GT/s)?twenty-one22.4twenty-onetwenty-one
Bandwidth (GBps)?10087365041008
TDP (watts)?450320285450
Launch Date?Oct 12, 2022Nov 2022?Nov 2022?Mar 2022
Launch Price?$1,599$1,199$899$1,999

One of the interesting things that Nvidia tells in its whitepaper is that Ada Lovelace GPUs use high-speed transistors in critical paths to boost maximum clock speeds. As a result, its fully-enabled AD102 GPU with 18,432 CUDA cores is ”capable of running at clocks over 2.5 GHz, while maintaining the same 450W TGP.” Keeping this in mind, we’re not surprised that the company is talking about 3.0 GHz clocks for the GeForce RTX 4090 (with 16,384 CUDA cores) reached in its labs. At 3.0 GHz, the GeForce RTX 4090 will absolutely headline our list of the best graphics cards around.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

In addition to high clocks, Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace GPU also boast massive L2 caches that improve performance in compute intensive workloads (eg, ray tracing, path tracing, simulations, etc.) and reduce memory bandwidth requirements. Essentially, Nvidia’s Ada GPUs take a page from RDNA 2 Infinity Cache’s book here, although we believe that general targets for the new architecture were set well before AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series products debuted in 2020.