Rumors and leaks have recently surfaced on the Internet of NVIDIA’s possible top trio of graphics cards supporting the Ampere architecture. While some photos of dubious origins had sprung up previously, serious gamers have started getting excited with the latest leaks.
The generally reliable Igor Wallossek posted further information on the specs of what appears to be the trio of 3080, 3080Ti, and 3090. Yes, you read that right, the RTX 3090.
If you’re questioning the validity of these leaks, rightfully so, NVIDIA seems to have launched an investigation, hoping to crack down upon the leakers. We’re not saying it’s 100% definite, but well, why would NVIDIA be mad otherwise?
There is a catch to this information, though. NVIDIA has been known to make last-month changes to their lineup in the past (remember Volta?). Since no release date has yet been announced, there’s plenty of time to go back to the design room and rework things. With that said, let’s move on to what we know, and what we don’t.
The few photos we’ve seen on the interwebs suggest a chin-scratching design with the potential to upset the more aesthetically-minded.
The leaked photos show a dual-sided fan, and fans speculate this may be a pull/push design to vent air, instead of simply spreading it out through the vents in your case. The new model could lead to an improvement in cooling efficiency.
However, for many, the new asymmetric hourglass design that these photos show looks ugly. The housing and cooler unit is also rumored to cost $150 in production alone. However, this figure might go down with bulk production. Controversial also is the apparent exclusion of NVLink from the lower models, the 3080 and 3080 Ti/Super. For some hardcore tinkerers wanting to push the processing limit with multiple GPUs, this might be a turn-off.
|Part||PCB||Chip||Model||Extension||Memory||Interface||TBP (Total Board Power)||Connectors|
|SKU10||PG132||GA102||RTX 3090||(Ti/Super)*||24 GB GDDR6X|
|384-bit||350 W||3x DP, HDMI,|
|SKU20||PG132||GA102||RTX 3080||(Ti/Super)*||11 GB GDDR6X*||352-bit*||320 W||3x DP, HDMI|
|SKU30||PG132||GA102||RTX 3080||--||10 GB GDDR6X||320-bit||320 W||3x DP, HDMI|
Other step-ups include the as-yet-unseen GDDR6X SDRAM from the previous GDDR5X and a whopping 350W power draw for the entire board. We don’t have information on the number of CUDA cores or tensor cores yet. While the cards are said to run on 7 nm GA102, the exact clock speed is unknown.
What’s more, with NVIDIA’s fluctuating and confusing naming conventions, fans wonder if the 3090 is the top-tier card and if it will even carry that name. Fancy an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Hyper Xp, anyone?
Heritage and Competition
The last time we saw x90 used in an NVIDIA card was the GTX 690, and historically x90 cards have been dual-GPU mutants that few seemed to want. So, NVIDIA killed it. Now that the 3090 seems plausible, can we expect a multi-GPU effort from NVIDIA again?
Perhaps not. Most speculators have assumed that the 3090 is simply a naming convention for the top tier, now that many new gamers have forgotten the monstrosities that were the x90s. The new top-tier Ampere card can be considered a successor to the Titan RTX, what with the 24 Gigs of memory. Or NVIDIA may up the ante and have an entirely new titan altogether, possibly with, dare we whisper, even more memory?
If you, like many budget-conscious folks, are asking, “Well, how much will the darn things cost?” then you might want to be aware of the bigger picture. AMD, yes, the humble and affordable manufacturer making waves with Ryzen, may have good news for you soon.
AMD, in the GPU scene, has been bravely fighting at the lower price market. Soon, its RDNA-2 architecture – promised in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles – may make its way to desktops as well. The unofficially titled ‘Big Navi’ or ‘Navi 2x’ might finally be AMD’s Ti/Titan killer, set to disrupt the high-end gaming community. This product may arrive before 2020 is over, and herald a new front for AMD’s offensive.
What does this mean?
So, all this exciting news, but what does this mean for the average pc gamer? While your wallets may be itching to make bold purchases as soon as any of these new products come out, we’d advise you to hold your horses a while.
Running Cyberpunk 2077 as it comes out in September on the newest and greatest from NVIDIA is a fantasy we also share. Still, with all the latest releases, it seems better to wait out the initial ripples and surges the GPU market may bring. Maybe spend your bucks on other upgrades, like your cases or screens. With the competition looming larger, all eyes of the gaming world are fixed on NVIDIA’s next move. Will they deliver?