The release date is the big rumor. It ranges from July to September 2018.
It also looks like NVIDIA may be the only manufacturer releasing a major video card in 2018. The collection of information available as of June 2nd, 2018 is in this nerdy video.
The TL:DR take away is it will be the best card of 2018 (…is that because it is the ONLY card?), pricy, somewhat faster but no one is for sure, will use the newest GDDR6 VRAM which is in short supply… But, this is only speculation even when based on educated guesses.
From an earlier video we get more specific details and for the visually oriented (aren’t all SL peeps visually oriented?) it is in an easier to compare format.
The take away from this video is the new 1180 will outperform the 1080 Titan, which is the pentacle of the 10xx series of cards.
The big thing in the new cards is their design for raytracing light and shadows. Raytracing is literally calculating the path of light from the source to the camera/eye (actually for each pixel on your screen) and all the things that happen to it along the way. This is WAY math intense and time consuming. So, all sorts of alternative systems are used to fake lighting in games and improve performance. Building fast ray trace engines into the video card is about getting more photorealistic images in less time. Meaning the card will provide enough performance games needing performance for VR will likely be able to start using raytracing.
What will the new cards do for Second Life peeps? Not a lot. Expect them to be faster. The total number of polygons they can render per second is like 10 million to 16 billion, depending on who you read. For SL that means about 352,000,000 polygons per frame in an SL viewer. At the Cosmopolitan even I only need to render 700k to 900k polys per second, 33k per frame actual from Viewer Stats. It isn’t the polygons that are choking the system. So, faster video cards won’t provide enough muscle to turn our unoptimized content into something that renders like Unreal, Cry, or Unity games.
We also have the challenge of OpenGL limits. In January 2018 OpenGL Version: 4.6.0 was released. My NVIDIA driver uses that version in its driver. But, OpenGL and Second Life use of it are not at parity. Only recently did a software engineer with in depth rendering knowledge come over to the SL product. There is a lot to fix in the SL render engine. That work is just starting. How much can be done or will be done is unknown. But, I don’t expect to see the Lab attempting to adopt the new NVIDIA features any time soon. Improving and using performance features, yes. But, adding raytraced reflections and shadows… no.
I don’t see US$700± of possible improvement from a new GTX 1150, 60, 70, or 80 video card for Second Life users. But, the new cards will give a bit more performance. Of course, some will have to have the latest and greatest.
I think our gains in performance will be from changes in the SL system. The move to the cloud and the Bakes-On-Mesh project reducing our texture count have the most likelihood of improving performance.