One of the gaming industry’s worst-kept secrets has finally been revealed. NVIDIA today officially introduced the GeForce RTX 3080 12GB, which sits between the existing RTX 3080 10GB and RTX 3080 Ti and could be in the race for the top gaming graphics cards. NVIDIA just changed the main RTX 3080 product page to reflect the changes, so there wasn’t much of a fuss about the new SKU.
The RTX 3080 12GB differs from the RTX 3080 by featuring 12GB of 19 Gbps GDDR6X memory instead of 10GB, as we previously reported. Another significant difference is that the GDDR6X has a bigger 384-bit memory bus (rather than 320 bits), giving it a 20% increase in possible bandwidth. A few more tweaks have been made to improve performance.
The number of CUDA cores rose from 8706 to 8960, the number of RT cores increased from 68 to 70, and the number of Tensor cores went from 272 to 280. Surprisingly, the base frequency is lower at 1.26 GHz than 1.44 GHz, yet the boost speed remains the same at 1.71 GHz. Finally, the RTX 3080 12GB has a TDP of 350 watts, which is 30 watts higher than the RTX 3080.
With these improvements, the RTX 3080 12GB should be able to keep up with the more expensive RTX 3080 Ti. We’re amazed this product was published at all, but it’s most likely due to pricing and availability. It’ll also be “led by Nvidia’s partners,” and there won’t be a Founders Edition – the original RTX 3080 will still be available, and this is just a new model.
The RTX 3080 10GB has an MSRP of $699, which appears to be “too low” in light of the retail shortages and price gouging. The RTX 3080 Ti costs $1,199, and while Nvidia didn’t specify pricing for the new 3080 12GB, we expect it will cost approximately $999.
GPU costs are clearly out of control in the GPU world. Higher-end Ampere GPUs are selling for roughly twice their MSRP on third-party marketplaces due to chip shortages. The RTX 3080 12GB is likely to be in a similar boat, as MSI’s cards were temporarily advertised on German retailer Mindfactory’s website for €1,699 (about $1,926).
So far, EVGA, MSI, and Inno3D have made their RTX 3080 12GB cards official, and we’re confident that the usual suspects like Asus and Gigabyte will follow suit soon.