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Nvidia's Volta GPU: Why Gamers Should Care

Nvidia just took the wraps off of Volta: a new GPU architecture that the company is calling the most powerful graphics tech in the world. And while Volta will initially live in data centers to power things like artificial intelligence and cloud computing, it could end up impacting the next wave of Nvidia GeForce graphics cards that you'll use in your gaming PC. Here's what you need to know.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang introducing Volta. Credit: Nvidia

(Image credit: Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang introducing Volta. Credit: Nvidia)

What is Nvidia Volta?

Volta is Nvidia's 7th-generation GPU architecture, promising 5 times more power than the current Pascal generation and a whopping 15 times more power than the previous Maxwell generation. As far as nuts and bolts go, it packs 21 billion transistors and is as fast as 100 CPUs combined, according to Nvidia.

If you're interested in the nitty gritty of Volta's every spec, our friends at Tom's Hardware have an excellent breakdown of what it all means. But the gist is that Volta is the most advanced graphics tech there is right now.

MORE: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Benchmarks: A 4K Gaming Beast

What will Volta be used for?

The first Volta-based processor is the Nvidia Tesla V100 data center GPU, which will power technologies "such as natural language virtual assistants, and personalized search and recommendation systems" for developers, scientists and more, according to Nvidia. With new, AI-based products in the pipeline such as Amazon's Echo Show and the Cortana-based Invoke speaker, it certainly won't hurt for hardware makers to have access to more power to make assistants such as Alexa and Cortana even smarter.

How will Volta affect gaming?

While Volta is designed for data centers and not gaming PCs, it's hard not to imagine a Volta-based GeForce GTX series that would take advantage of the architecture's extreme power and speedy memory. It'll probably be a while, considering Nvidia only just released its GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Nvidia bring the advancements its made with Volta to its gaming products within the next few years.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored and was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.