Nvidia Ampere will show how gaming PCs will leapfrog PS5 and Xbox Series X

Nvidia Jensen Huang
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia is expected to take the covers off its Ampere next-generation graphics architecture at its upcoming virtual GTC 2020 conference. And that could give us a glimpse at what the future holds for Nvidia’s next GeForce graphics cards.

The graphics giant was going to hold its GTC event on May 14, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced Nvidia to spin GTC into an event that’ll be streamed online and give fans a glimpse at what Nvidia has been working on, with Nvidia telling fans to "get amped" about the announcements. That’ll almost certainly mean Nvidia will reveal a new GPU, but there’s a slightly disappointing twist. 

As GTC is more of an event for developers and IT specialists, the graphics card Nvidia will likely reveal is set to be a GPU for datacentre and server use; it’ll be used to power things like artificial intelligence and rendering workloads, not push games at high-fidelity graphics settings. So unless you’re into making AI systems, the GPU won’t be for you. 

However, Nvidia’s graphics architecture spans all of its graphics cards and chips, so a showcase of Ampere will give us an idea of the tech that’ll underpin the next GeForce lineup, potentially called the 3000-series. And we’re expecting a significant improvement in performance across the board for next-generation GeForce GPUs. 

According to our sister site Tom’s Hardware, Ampere is supposedly due to deliver a 50% hike in performance over the Turing architecture that the current line up of GeForce RTX 2000-series graphics cards uses. As such, we’re expecting to not only see an increase in graphics performance across 4K and 1080p resolutions, but also see improved performance with hardware-powered ray-tracing Nvidia’s GeForce RTX cards support. 

We are hoping that translates into mid-range graphics cards, such as the GeForce RTX 2060, to be powerful enough for run games will all settings at full at 4K resolution, running at 60 frames per seconds at least. That something a high-end GeForce RTX 2080 Ti could some time struggle with. 

Ampere will need to deliver some impressive performance, as the PS5 and Xbox Series X are set to be very powerful consoles. So PC gamers will want some hardware that'll keep their machines ahead of the next-generation consoles. 

As for top-end graphics cards, let’s say a GeForce RTX 3080, we’d hope Nvidia will deliver something special; perhaps running games with improved ray-tracing or at 8K resolution. We’d also expect to see Nvidia build upon its deep learning supersampling technology, which uses machine learning to deliver smooth performance demanding games running at very high graphics settings; think DLSS 2.0 with more efficient and smarter performance. 

Ampere isn’t expected to be the dramatic step up in performance and features the Turing architecture was on the Polaris architecture that sat below graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 1080. But for people likely to be looking at making a new PC towards the end of the year, Ampere is set to yield graphics cards with some impressive performance. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.