Nvidia GeForce RTX cards may get faster RAM to combat AMD’s Navi GPUs

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AMD will soon be introducing new Navi graphics cards which are likely to be highly competitive offerings, and according to the graphics grapevine, Nvidia already has plans to counter this move with a refresh to its existing GeForce 20-series Turing products, bringing in faster memory for these GPUs.

The rumor – and we stress this is just a rumor, to be taken with all the usual caveats – comes from RedGamingTech, which cites sources claiming that Nvidia is planning to use faster video memory in its RTX cards (but likely not Turing GTX products), for a boost from 14Gbps to 16Gbps in terms of memory speed.

For the RTX 2080, that would mean a jump in memory bandwidth from 448GB/s to 512GB/s, an almost 15% increase (and faster memory bandwidth means a faster graphics card in general).

That would be a solid bump, and RedGamingTech further speculates in the video below that Nvidia could also potentially be planning an increase in clock speeds, too, but underlines that this really is just theorizing and hasn’t been heard from an inside source.

While we certainly need to be cautious about even the alleged uptick in memory speed, it does make sense in light of Nvidia’s history. With the previous-generation Pascal cards, Nvidia cranked up the memory speed of the GTX 1080 from 10Gbps to 11Gbps just inside a year after the GPU’s launch (and the GTX 1060 similarly stepped up from 8Gbps to 9Gbps).

So this is not without precedent, and it certainly makes sense that Nvidia would want to do something to at least take some of the wind out of AMD’s Navi sails (or indeed sales, for that matter).

Price and performance

As ever with rumor mill shenanigans, we don’t know anything for sure here, but potentially boosted memory aside, where Nvidia is likely to be attacked with the greatest ferocity by AMD’s new Navi GPUs is on the pricing front – particularly when you consider just how expensive RTX cards are. This is where Nvidia will really feel the squeeze, in all likelihood, so perhaps any refreshed RTX GPUs with faster memory will also see a cut in price?

On a final note, as Wccftech, which spotted this rumor on YouTube, observes, another interesting point is that if Nvidia is upgrading the GDDR6 video memory to faster 16Gbps offerings, RAM maker Micron doesn’t have 16Gbps products, but Samsung does, so these alleged refreshed cards will be going entirely with Samsung video memory.

And that will be good news for a fair few Nvidia fans, given that many are currently trying to buy video cards with Samsung memory rather than Micron – often you don’t know what RAM you’ve got until you actually have the card in your hands – as it has a better reputation (and more potential for solid overclocking).

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).