Nvidia RTX 3080 20GB rumor suggests maybe you shouldn’t rush to buy one of the GPUs anyway

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card will be graced with a second variant that doubles the video RAM from 10GB to 20GB, if the rumor mill is to be believed.

Videocardz claims that it has multiple sources asserting that this is the case, and backs this up with a further hint from Nvidia itself in the form of an Ampere whitepaper from the GPU maker.

In that document, the listed Ampere graphics cards don’t have any memory configuration details provided save for one exception – the RTX 3080, which is clearly labelled as a 10GB version.

So, the suggestion is that while a 20GB version isn’t explicitly mentioned, the fact that the memory configuration is mentioned at all means Nvidia will be producing another version with a different RAM loadout. And the rumor mill is insistent that this will be 20GB, and indeed that figure has been floating around for a while now.

Naturally, this is still far from confirmation of the existence of an RTX 3080 with doubled-up video RAM, but the other argument is that Nvidia is keeping this card in the wings, ready to deploy it when AMD makes its Big Navi graphics card reveal. And of course, it would make sense for Nvidia to want to take the wind out of AMD’s sails.

Videocardz theorizes that this alternative RTX 3080 could launch just after October 28, which is when AMD takes the wraps off Big Navi.

Annoying early adopters?

The counterargument to this is that by unleashing a second RTX 3080 spin with a lot more video memory so soon, Nvidia could run the risk of seriously annoying those who bought the 10GB version which has just been released (and immediately went out of stock everywhere – but that’s another story).

As ever, we wouldn’t get too hung up on a rumor – but it is apparently one of the stronger noises coming from the GPU grapevine, and as mentioned, it does make some kind of sense.

Even if this does happen, there are a couple of further points to bear in mind. Remember that loading the card up with much more GDDR6X will increase the cost considerably, and the RTX 3080 is pricey enough as it is – particularly with third-party GPUs – which is why Nvidia elected to run with 10GB of VRAM in the first place.

This was determined to be the sweet spot in terms of price/performance, and it’s certainly true that the RTX 3080 offers a lot of power for the money. Nvidia also argued that 10GB is sufficient after “analyzing memory requirements of the latest games”, but there are still quite a few folks who were disappointed by this decision.

Those are the people who will doubtless be excited about the 20GB variant – and may therefore want to wait to see how things pan out with the RTX 3080 going forward. That said, you haven’t got much choice but to wait right now anyhow (and keep an eye on our where to find stock of the Nvidia RTX 3080 article).

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).