Nvidia could spring a surprise GPU launch next week

Close up of RTX 3070 Ti GPU
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia revealed a pair of new desktop graphics cards at CES 2022 – the RTX 3090 Ti and the RTX 3050, covering both the high and low-end of the Ampere spectrum – but another RTX 3000 series GPU is imminent, according to the grapevine.

Sources who Wccftech has spoken to claim that a third new desktop GPU is set to arrive imminently in the form of a new spin on the existing RTX 3080 which ups the video RAM from 10GB to 12GB (GDDR6X).

Not only that, but the new version of the 3080 will supposedly have a slight increase in CUDA core count, bumping it to 8,960 (as opposed to 8,704 cores in the existing model). As well as a couple of hundred more cores, the refreshed GPU could run with a 350W TDP (as opposed to 320W currently, so again, a slight bump).

All of this info is leakage that should be treated with plenty of caution, naturally, as is Wccftech’s further assertion that the RTX 3080 12GB was planned for a reveal at CES, but that was pushed back to January 11.

So in theory – condiments aplenty – this card will be unveiled in just a few days, and pre-orders could go live straightaway, or we might even see the GPU available to buy on the same day (although the latter seems unlikely to us). There are no whispers as to where pricing might be pitched.

Analysis: Canceled, then not canceled – what’s going on here?

Interestingly, the RTX 3080 12GB has been previously rumored back in December 2021 (with the same change to the CUDA core count floated back then, too), so this is consistent with past speculation.

That said, Igor’s Lab also claimed last month that Nvidia had thought better of launching this revamped RTX 3080, but it appears that Team Green may have thought again – if indeed the company ever changed its mind. Cards have purportedly been canceled and then uncanceled behind the scenes before, so Wccftech could be on the money here – or Igor could just have been plain wrong – and the only way we’ll really know is to see what happens early next week.

That’s the good thing about this rumor, in that we really don’t have long to wait to find out the truth behind the speculation. However, it does clearly seem odd that Nvidia wouldn’t have unveiled this GPU at CES – why wait until the following week, really?

At any rate, if this model does arrive, it looks like Nvidia may simply launch the refreshed GPU as the RTX 3080 12GB, rather than as an RTX 3080 Super to coexist with the RTX 3080 Ti, as the latter naming situation could possibly be more confusing (it’s an idea the rumor mill has floated in the past, though).

Even if this new Ampere graphics card is coming, we’re betting more of the attention will remain on the RTX 3050 aired at CES 2022, which is set to hopefully help tackle the awful situation in budget cards right now, where even two-year-old Nvidia GPUs are selling at hugely (frankly ridiculous) inflated prices.

At this point, what we need is more stock and availability, far more than additional models, but that’s stating the obvious – and component shortages and supply problems aren’t going away any time soon (not in the first half of 2022, by all accounts, according to Nvidia itself).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).