NVIDIA May Have Just Confirmed GeForce RTX 3080 20GB GDDR6X Configuration
The GeForce RTX 3080 has launched to retail (good luck getting one at MSRP, though), and is an absolute gaming monster—the fastest graphics card we have ever tested, in fact. Next week will see the release of the GeForce RTX 3090, followed by the GeForce RTX 3070 in October. Good stuff, but what else looms? Perhaps a version of the GeForce RTX 3080 with twice as much memory.
Before we get to that, let's quickly recap the specifications. The GeForce RTX 3080 is built around NVIDIA's latest generation Ampere GPU, which itself is manufactured on Samsung's 8-nanometer (8N) node. It features 8,704 CUDA cores, 68 second-generation RT cores, and 10GB of GDDR6X memory at 19Gbps on a 320-bit bus, for 760GB/s of memory bandwidth. The Founders Edition has a 1,710MHz boost clock.
If you can get your hands on one, this absolutely the card to get right now for 4K or 1440p gaming (it's overkill for 1080p, but hey, it works great for that as well). Of course, AMD will have its Radeon RX 6000 series soon, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up.
Getting back to the memory arrangement, there is an interesting tidbit NVIDIA included in a recently published Ampere GA102 GPU architecture whitepaper (PDF). Here is the part of interest...
Direct your gaze to the right-hand column for the GeForce RTX 3080, in which NVIDIA specifically mentions 10GB of memory. This caught the attention of Videocardz, because the site claims to have confirmed with "multiple sources" that a 20GB model is in the wings, and believes this table could be another (inadvertent) confirmation of that, direct from NVIDIA this time. How so?
This is the only place in the entire document where the amount of memory is listed. The speculation is that NVIDIA did this so that it could add a GeForce RTX 3080 model with 20GB of memory to the lineup, without rendering its current whitepaper out of date. Who knows if the other specs will be the same (if a 20GB card is in the works), but either way, this cements the current version as being different from whatever else might be coming.
It is admittedly thin evidence, and by itself, we would not read too much into it. However, if the site is hearing the same thing from several sources and is confident in that information, then this becomes all the more interesting, and maybe even likely.
There is certainly room to shoehorn another Ampere card in to the lineup. The gap in pricing between the GeForce RTX 3080 10GB ($699) and GeForce RTX 3090 24GB ($1,499) is fairly large. Adding more memory to the GeForce RTX 3080 would be a way for NVIDIA to charge more money, without significantly improving performance and cannibalizing GeForce RTX 3090 sales. We'll see.