We have been seeing a ton of leaks about Nvidia Ampere recently, and the popular theory is that it will be the graphics architecture behind the next lineup of Nvidia GeForce graphics processors - even if we don't fully buy it.
After all, Nvidia tends to release graphics architectures for professionals and data center before the consumer-facing architecture behind GeForce, as it did when Nvidia Volta preceded Turing.
That doesn't stop the internet rumor mill from spinning, of course, so we went and gathered up all the RTX 3080 rumors in one spot. As more next-gen Nvidia GeForce graphics emerge, we'll keep this article updated with the latest speculation and gossip, so be sure to keep it bookmarked.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next Nvidia GeForce flagship
- When is it out? TBA
- How much is it? Likely around the same price as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
RTX 3080 release date
In the past, Nvidia GeForce lineups have been about two years apart. For instance, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 dropped back in May 2016, with the GeForce RTX 2080 succeeding it in August 2018. The time between the GTX 980 and GTX 1080 was a bit shorter, with the former arriving in September 2014. Still as a general rule, we've been able to historically count on there being a new lineup of graphics cards every couple of years.
However, right now the rumor mill is suggesting that we're going to see the next GeForce lineup make an appearance at GTC, or the GPU Technology Conference in March. For the last few years, though, this conference has revolved entirely around data center and professional products, particularly AI and smart cars. We expect this year to be the same. In fact, the rumor that Nvidia Ampere will make its appearance at this conference makes us think it won't actually be behind GeForce.
Nvidia Volta made an appearance at this show back in 2018, but it was exclusively behind Quadro and Tesla cards. Our guess is that if Nvidia is going to announce its next-generation graphics cards for gaming, it will either take place at Computex 2020 or E3 2020, similar to how AMD handled it in 2019 with Navi.
With how these things typically go, we won't actually know when the RTX 3080 is on its way until Nvidia is ready for us to know. In fact, we won't know if it'll even be called the RTX 3080.
RTX 3080 price
Because we're so far out from a potential GeForce RTX 3080 release, we obviously have no idea how much it will cost. But, that doesn't mean we can't do a bit of speculation about it.
Nvidia Turing graphics cards saw a large price jump over their Pascal predecessors, and we'd almost expect the same to happen with whatever comes next. However, we have heard some rumors that suggest that the next-generation graphics cards will be more affordable. That said, this rumor revolves around another rumor that the cards will be manufactured using Samsung 7nm EUV (extreme ultraviolet) manufacturing process. We'd take that one with a grain of salt.
One thing that absolutely needs to be taken into consideration when talking about RTX 3080 price is 'Big Navi'. When Nvidia Turing hit the streets it was basically completely unopposed by AMD. Even when Team Red dropped the Radeon VII in February 2019 it was totally incapable of dethroning the RTX 2080. Competition has definitely heated up since then, though.
Both the Radeon RX 5700 series and the Radeon RX 5600 XT have caused Nvidia to drop prices in response, and the threat of 'Big Navi' supposedly beating the RTX 2080 Ti by 30% could force Nvidia to drop its prices to compete. Still, we won't know the RTX 3080's price until we see Nvidia lift the veil – or at least until more substantial leaks surface.
RTX 3080 specs
We have seen a lot of really vague speculation and rumors surrounding supposed RTX 3080 specs, but there are some constants: it'll be 7nm and will be faster than the RTX 2080. That second one should be super obvious, of course – why would Nvidia put out new graphics cards if they're not significantly faster?
The other rumor, the 7nm manufacturing process, is much more interesting. If you've been following the AMD vs Intel smackdown over the last year, you're probably aware that one of the things that's kept AMD on top of the CPU world is the fact that it's been able to fully adopt 7nm while Intel, at least when it comes to desktop, being stuck at 14nm. If Nvidia is able to adopt a 7nm manufacturing process for the RTX 3080, AMD won't have such an easy time dunking on it.
If these rumors are actually true, it would mean that Nvidia could significantly boost performance - up to 50% according to some rumors - while boosting power efficiency significantly. When combined with DLSS, which will absolutely be a part of whatever graphics cards Nvidia puts out next, could potentially lead to 4K graphics cards being available in the mid-range sector for the first time.
NVIDIA GA103:60 SM , 320-bit10GB/20GB Graphics MemoryNVIDIA GA104:48 SM , 256-bit8GB/16GB Graphics Memory pic.twitter.com/IaQt6mtQ4bJanuary 17, 2020
We have even seen some more specific spec leaks, notably one from hardware leaker KittyCorgi, who suggests that Nvidia's next-generation flagship could potentially come with up to 20GB of VRAM. Of course, this is a leak we'd take with a hefty dose of salt, but it could potentially prove our theory that the next graphics architecture Nvidia announces will in fact be for professionals. The Quadro RTX 6000, for instance, packs 24GB of GDDR6 - but it also costs $4,000 (£4,066, AU$6,999).
Right now, if we had to put our money down, we'd suggest that these leaked specs are for an Nvidia Quadro or Tesla card, or maybe even the follow-up to the Nvidia Titan V. Whatever the GeForce RTX 3080 looks like, we seriously doubt we've seen it yet.
Don't worry, though. We'll keep our eyes open for the next generation of GeForce, and we'll be sure to update this article as soon as we see any juicy RTX 3080 spec rumors.