A Twitter person named @hongxing2020 just lately shared pictures of a mysterious MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X 20G OC, packing a formidable however uncommon reminiscence capability of 20GB. The person claims that as much as 100 models can be found for between $432 to $576, insinuating that these might be leftover playing cards from mining operations. Core specs are unknown, however the graphics card is probably going the long-rumored 20GB variant of the vanilla RTX 3080, modified to help Micron reminiscence chips with double the capability.
It would not be the primary time Nvidia has reportedly messed round doubling VRAM capacities on its high-end GPUs. Virtually each technology of Nvidia graphics playing cards has featured some rumor or suspicion pointing to a 2x greater capability variant effectively after the GPU’s preliminary launch.
Prior to now, Nvidia has bought completely different reminiscence capability variants of the identical GPU mannequin, with one variant that includes 2x the reminiscence capability over the opposite. Its technique was prevalent throughout the Kepler technology and older fashions, the place playing cards just like the GTX 780 3GB and GTX 770 2GB had extra 6GB and 4GB fashions, respectively.
Making a brand new GPU with 2x the reminiscence capability is not exhausting; it is one of many best methods so as to add extra VRAM capability to a GPU. All Nvidia has to do is swap out reminiscence ICs with ones that includes two instances the capability of the earlier variant.
If Nvidia wished so as to add various ranges of VRAM decrease or greater than 2x, creating such a configuration will get way more difficult. It includes modifying the reminiscence bus width and reminiscence configuration. However, it’s as a result of reminiscence producers virtually at all times select to make reminiscence ICs primarily based on 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB reminiscence configs with no capacities in between.
As a rule, you see reminiscence configurations on some Nvidia GPUs, together with the RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti with a 24GB of VRAM, and the RTX 3060 with a really odd 12GB of reminiscence – when the upper tier RTX 3060 Ti has 8GB. Typically, it is simpler to double VRAM capability if extra VRAM is required, as an alternative of making a brand new die with extra or fewer reminiscence controllers only for a particular capability or, worse, disabling reminiscence controllers to hit a decrease than 2x capability – which Nvidia has completed earlier than.
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Nevertheless, if Nvidia was occupied with an RTX 3080 20GB, it could have created extra issues than advantages. Essentially the most important issue, in fact, is the RTX 3080 12GB, which might be its direct competitor – particularly now that it has resurged this yr.
The RTX 3080 12GB is way more than a measly 2GB capability improve over the RTX 3080. As said earlier, Nvidia needed to improve the RTX 3080 12GB with extra reminiscence controllers and extra CUDA cores, so as to add the additional 2GB to the cardboard. As well as, it introduced the RTX 3080 12GB’s CUDA core capability up by a further 256 cores, and, better of all, introduced the cardboard’s bus width as much as the identical spec because the 3080 Ti and RTX 3090.
It could make the RTX 3080 20GB extra of a downgrade for avid gamers than the rest. Since 20GB is a wonderfully even 2x improve over the 10GB, Nvidia must run the precise core specs and reminiscence bus width because the 10GB mannequin. It means the RTX 3080 12GB can be noticeably faster than the RTX 3080 20GB in titles not utilizing over 12GB of reminiscence.
One other concern with the 20GB mannequin is reminiscence utilization in video games. Solely a choose few titles operating at very excessive resolutions and maxed-out texture packs can break 12GB of VRAM on an Nvidia GPU, because of Nvidia’s superior reminiscence compression expertise. Consequently, the RTX 3080 20GB’s extra 8GB of VRAM would hardly ever be useful for many avid gamers.
Technically a 20GB SKU can be a very good improve over a 10GB mannequin, however with a 12GB variant already present, a 20GB mannequin for avid gamers is unnecessary. The one place an RTX 3080 20GB would make sense is within the prosumer aspect of the market, the place gobs of reminiscence capability are helpful for non-gaming duties equivalent to 3D rendering and high-resolution video timelines with tons of various visible results. However Nvidia already has the RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti to bridge this hole, making the RTX 3080 20GB much more pointless.