Nvidia’s next graphics card lineup codenamed Kepler is currently set to debut sometime in Q1 this year, though it seems likely it will be more towards the end of the period.
Also known as the G600 series of GPUs, the new cards are designed to compete directly with AMD’s Tahiti 7000 series graphics chips, so will come at the reduced die size of 28nm. This will of course bring with it all the improvements that a new shrink usually does: reduced heat output and therefore quieter operation due to a reduction in fan noise. There will likely be more passively cooled options as well.
The new chip design will also be bringing a nice performance jump and like AMD’s Tahiti design, represents the first major architectural change for a few years.
Despite some sources claiming that the new G600 series Kepler chips are going to perform faster than (at the high end at least) than the Radeon 7970, AMD will be getting the drop on Nvidia, bringing its cards to market first. This might be similar to the original Fermi release, where the Geforce maker didn’t make much of a splash with its hardware due to being late to the table.