AMD’s latest graphics cards are already hitting the street, but Nvidia’s high end GPUs are nowhere to be seen. Late last year, we heard rumors that Nvidia’s GK104 "Kepler" graphics cards may be delayed to an early summer or late spring launch. If the latest rumors reported by Maximum PC hold true; however, Nvidia’s Kepler cards’ release may be leaning more towards a late spring launch instead of an early summer window.
They report that sources from Chinese website ChipHell.com have indicated that Nvidia’s new high end GTX 680 graphics cards may be released as soon as February 2012. This is a relatively big push forwards compared to the previously rumored March or April launch window, and is likely being accelerated in response to AMD’s successful launch of their GCN (Graphics Core Next) based Radeon 7970 graphics cards. Although we do not know much about the upcoming cards, the general consensus is that the GTX 680 cards will have 2 GB of video memory on a 256-bit bus. Further, the Kepler cards’ core will run at 780 MHz, and the GK104 cards will have TDP (thermal design power) ratings of 225 Watts.
Whether the company will have actual hardware to sell or if it will be more of a "paper launch" remains to be seen. If I had to venture a guess, the cards will likely see limited availability in a late February launch but will not be around in significant quantities until later this year. With the delays caused by manufacturing the 28nm Kepler cards over at TSMC, the company is not likely to have all that big of a stockpile on hand.