Lovelace is the codename we believe Nvidia is using for its next generation of GeForce graphics cards, and if the leaks prove true, they could be shipping as early as late 2022. We've even heard rumors that a Nintendo Switch Pro powered by a Lovelace GPU could be in the works.
Of course, that's quite all quite a ways away, and that means we should take everything we've heard about Lovelace with generous skepticism. The ongoing chip shortage and the vagaries of Nvidia's product roadmap could easily lead to significant delays and changes.
While we wait for the next generation from Nvidia, the top GPUs just fell below MSRP — should you buy now?
- Nvidia RTX 3080 vs. AMD Radeon 6800 XT: Which GPU is for you?
- The best gaming PCs to buy now
- Plus: Dell just canceled Alienware gaming PC orders in six US states
Still, what we've heard so far paints an exciting picture of where Nvidia's GPU business is headed. Given the remarkable performance and popularity of current Nvidia cards like the GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080, the prospect of a new set of Lovelace-powered cards (presumably with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series branding) arriving in 2022 or 2023 should give PC gaming fans a lot to get excited about.
Let's just hope that when they do arrive, they're a bit easier to get ahold of than the current crop of Nvidia cards.
Nvidia Lovelace rumored specs
As of July 2021, the latest and most credible leaks (from regular leakers @greymon55 and @kopite7kimi) about Nvidia's Lovelace GPU claim it will be manufactured by TSMC on a 5-nanometer node, or perhaps even a more performant version branded N5P (N5 Performance). Either way, a 5nm process should produce more efficient cards than the 8nm node process used for the GeForce 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards.
If you're interested in raw numbers, the latest leaks claim that the flagship card in a Lovelace-powered GeForce 4000-series will have 144 streaming multiprocessors (the GeForce RTX 3090 has 82) and a maximum of 18,432 CUDA cores.
If you're not familiar with CUDA cores, they're basically parallel data processing units within an Nvidia GPU that work similarly to the way the CPU works in your PC. In general, the more CUDA cores a GPU has, the more quickly it can work through complex data. Thus, it's pretty significant that an Nvidia GPU built on Lovelace could have over 18,000 Cuda cores, as that's nearly twice as many as the 10,496 you'll find on the beastly RTX 3090. Of course, the RTX 3090 is built on the Ampere architecture, so the two CUDA core counts aren't directly comparable.
Leaker Greymon55 has also repeatedly floated the idea that Nvidia GPUs built on Lovelace will require significantly more power than the GeForce 3000-series GPUs they're replacing, as much as double in some cases. That's potentially a big deal because the GeForce RTX 3090 already draws between 300 and 400 watts, meaning if you put it into a beefy system you'll probably want at a power supply unit that delivers at least 850W, or more if you're using really power-hungry components like an AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU. If the GeForce 4000-series cards really do require twice as much power, we could be looking at a future where 1,000 - 1,800 watt power supplies are what you'll need to build truly performant PCs.
Nvidia Lovelace release date leaks
As mentioned earlier, the current volatility of the GPU market is good reason to take all rumored release windows for the next generation of Nvidia cards with a big grain of salt.
That said, @greymon55 has so far claimed that Lovelace cards will debut "no earlier than the end of 2022," which makes sense for multiple reasons. First and foremost, that gives Nvidia and TSMC plenty of time to spin up production, and we've heard reliable reports that TSMC and Nvidia rival AMD have already validated a 5nm process for producing desktop chip products.
Also, Nvidia has often gone two years between releasing major GPU lines, so the fact that the high-end GeForce 3000-series cards debuted in late 2020 (with a revamped line of 3000-series Ti cards launching in 2021) means a late 2022 launch for a GeForce 4000-series would fit right into Nvidia's playbook.
Nvidia Lovelace price speculation
We haven't heard any credible leaks or rumors about how Nvidia will price its next generation of GPUs yet, but we can make some educated guesses based on how the company has priced prior generations.
Typically the company launches a new GeForce line with a few high-end cards up front, with prices ranging from $500 to $1,500. In September of 2020, for example, it announced that its high-end GeForce RTX 3090 would cost $1,500. The RTX 3080 was initially sold for $699, and the mid-range RTX 3070 was priced at $499.
Those prices were roughly in line with the pricing for the prior generation (RTX 2070-2090), so it's a safe bet that Nvidia will be trying to hit similar pricing with a GeForce RTX 4000-series of cards.
However, we really don't know what impact the current chip shortage and GPU market volatility will have on the final pricing of a new series of GeForce cards. All of the GeForce 3000-series cards are now selling (often second-hand) for much higher prices than they were initially offered at, and there's no reason to expect things will return to normal by the end of 2022. Plus, Nvidia may always choose to justify a price hike by pointing to the increased power and efficiency Lovelace is rumored to deliver.
Nvidia Lovelace outlook
Despite the remarkable instability of the GPU market, it's a safe bet that Nvidia is working on a successor to its hyper-popular GeForce 3000-series cards, and right now all indicators point to those cards being powered by Lovelace.
If the leaks we've heard about how beefy those cards prove true, Lovelace could help Nvidia go toe-to-toe with rival AMD, who is also rumored to be debuting a series of next-gen 5nm GPUs in late 2022 using its own RDNA 3 architecture.
And of course, we can't completely discount the leaks we've heard that a scaled-down Lovelace chip will show up in the long-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro. Sure, after launching the Switch OLED Nintendo has officially stated it has “no plans for launching any other [Switch] model at this time,” but those plans may change by the end of 2022.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.