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NVIDIA: RTX 3000 series – The story so far

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After becoming an avid PC gamer over the past couple of years, I just had to share my thoughts and knowledge on the anticipated RTX cards due for release.

We’re still a week away from the pending announcement of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 graphics card planned on September 1st, but ever since they unveiled their new Ampere GPU architecture back in May, the internet has been rife with rumours about the release date, specs and price of Nvidia’s upcoming GPU’s. To help you prepare for Nvidia’s hotly anticipated RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti and maybe even a RTX 3090 reveal, I’ve gathered up all the information I can find about Nvidia’s Ampere GPU’s, to try and make sense of all the online gossip.

I will, of course, be updating this article on a regular basis as and when more information about Nvidia’s RTX 3000 GPU’s gets announced, so watch this space for more details on the RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090’s release date, price and specs. For now though, here’s everything we know so far.

Nvidia Ampere / RTX 3000 series release date

Earlier in the year, it was suggested we could see a potential Nvidia Ampere release date sometime this August, but Nvidia have now confirmed they will be holding a special GeForce event on September 1st, most likely to officially unveil their next-gen line-up of new RTX 3000 cards. A proper release though, isn’t likely to come until sometime later in September, and that’s what’s currently doing the rounds online, too.

The internet has been rife with rumours about the release date, specs and price of Nvidia’s upcoming GPUs. To help you prepare for Nvidia’s hotly anticipated RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti and maybe even RTX 3090 reveal, I’ve gathered up all the information I can find about Nvidia’s Ampere GPUs to try and make sense of all the online gossip.

I will, of course, be updating this article September 1st when I tune in to the anticipated GeForce event. 

When more information about Nvidia’s RTX 3000 GPUs gets announced, so watch this space for more details on the RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090’s release date, price and specs. For now, though, here’s everything we know so far.

Nvidia Ampere / RTX 3000 series release date

According to conversations held between board partners, what we’re currently assuming are going to be the RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti are allegedly set for a release date of September 9th. The RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 will then apparently follow in October and November, but we won’t know for sure until Nvidia lay out their official release schedule.

Nvidia Ampere / RTX 3000 series GPU

Over the first weekend of June, the first alleged image of Nvidia’s Ampere GPU design emerged on the forum Chip hell, which you can see below. The pictures show the front and back of the supposed card, including that all important RTX 3080 moniker, which would seem to confirm that Nvidia’s next generation graphics cards will indeed follow an RTX 3000 series naming convention.

The design is unusual, with fans on both sides of the alleged RTX 3080. Normally, graphics cards only have fans on one side of the GPU to help keep the circuit board cool, so this would be quite a marked departure from Nvidia’s existing design for their RTX 20-series cards if the image is actually real.

Apart from its strange double-sided fan design, though, the image doesn’t give much else away. We can’t see the sides of the graphics card, for example, so there’s no way of telling what kind of display outputs it has or what kind of power connector it requires. Of course, there’s no way of knowing whether this is the final design of the RTX 3080 until Nvidia officially unveil it themselves.

However, another leaked image of the RTX 3090 from Twitter user @Garnet Sunset would seem to confirm this leaked GPU design, and their accompanying RTX 2080 card for scale shows these new GPUs could be absolutely enormous in size, too.

The RTX 3090 is allegedly going to be the replacement for Nvidia’s Titan RTX card this generation, and according to the tweet it’s going to be a massive triple-slot GPU rather than the usual two. Whether all Nvidia’s RTX 3000 GPUs will be this massive remains to be seen, of course, but hopefully we’ll find out for sure on September 1st.

Nvidia Ampere / RTX 3000 series specs

When Nvidia unveiled their Ampere GPU architecture at their online GTC 2020 keynote speech in May, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang confirmed that it will be using a 7 nanometre (nm) manufacturing process.

This is significant as Nvidia’s current crop of RTX 2000 series graphics cards, such as the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 use a 12nm manufacturing process at the moment, so the jump to 7nm should bring with it a considerable leap in performance. The smaller the manufacturing process, the more transistors Nvidia can fit onto a piece of silicon, leading to more powerful GPUs and faster performance across the board.

AMD’s Radeon RX 5000 graphics cards such as the RX 5700 XT have already made the leap to 7nm, and their upcoming AMD Navi GPUs are also set to be 7nm as well. As a result, Nvidia’s Ampere GPU architecture will finally bring them in line with their AMD rivals.

It would also appear that Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series will use 12-pin power connectors if this new image from PSU manufacturer Seasonic is anything to go by, rather than the traditional 2x 8-pin connectors that are used at the moment. This would be quite the sea change if next-gen graphics cards also required a new PSU, although it’s currently not clear if all RTX 3000 GPUs will need these, or whether it’s just a unique quirk of Nvidia’s Founders Editions. Indeed, I haven’t heard anything about AMD’s new Big Navi GPUs requiring new 12-pin power connectors, but I guess it won’t be long before we find out for sure.

As for how much faster Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series is going to be with this new manufacturing process and new power connector model, we’ll likely have to wait for Nvidia’s September 1st event before we get some specific performance figures showing how they compare to their existing RTX 2000 GPUs. That hasn’t stopped the online rumour mill from taking a swing at it already, though, and they’re currently convinced that the RTX 3080 Ti will be up to 40% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti thanks to a massive 5376 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory and a 384-bit bus interface.

There have also been rumours that the Titan-level RTX 3090 will have a massive 24GB of GDDR6X memory, as well as a 384-bit interface and a 350W TDP. Interestingly, the same leak suggests the RTX 3080 Ti won’t actually have 12GB of memory like previous rumours suggest. Instead, it will just have 11GB like the existing RTX 2080 Ti, albeit of the faster GDDR6X type like the purported RTX 3090. The regular RTX 3080, meanwhile, will have 10GB of GDDR6X memory.

All of those RTX 3000 specs could, of course, just be a load of bobbins dreamed up by eager specs leakers, so for now it’s best to take any alleged specs and performance figures floating about the internet with a pinch of salt.

Nvidia Ampere / RTX 3000 series price

The same goes for anyone claiming to know how much Nvidia’s Ampere RTX 3000 graphics cards are going to cost, because that information just isn’t available yet. We can make some educated guesses, of course, based off the current pricing of Nvidia’s RTX 2000 series cards, but until Nvidia make a proper announcement, everything is just speculation at this point.

The only thing we have to go on is what Nvidia’s RTX 2000 cards cost when they launched back in 2018, which you can see in the graph below, along with their respective specs. I’ve also added in the launch prices of Nvidia’s RTX Super cards from last year, too, so we’ve got a complete picture of their current RTX 2000 line-up.

As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if the RTX 3080 Ti’s price (or whatever it’s going to be called) is close to $1200 when it eventually comes out, and I’d imagine the RTX 3080 will cost somewhere in the region of $800, too.

Of course, a lot will depend on the pricing of AMD’s upcoming ‘Big Navi’ GPUs, which are also set to launch sometime before the end of 2020, but if Nvidia really want to win on price, then matching the launch prices of their RTX 2000 cards would certainly go some way to winning over prospective GPU buyers. Until they make a proper announcement, though, it’s currently anyone’s guess what the actual RTX 3000 series pricing is going to be.

Those are all the concrete facts we know about Nvidia’s Ampere GPUs at the moment, but next week we’ll likely get the full low-down on what’s coming, how much they’re going to cost, and when we’ll be able to get our hands on them. To stay up to date with everything Nvidia Ampere related, why not pop this article in your bookmarks, as I’ll be adding to it on a regular basis as more information gets announced.

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