Put on your tin hats and get your salt shakers ready, because we have more Nvidia-related rumors for you. Last month, we reported on the possibility of an upcoming RTX 3080 20GB card along with other RTX 30 Series high-VRAM variants. In the original story, Gigabyte unintentionally listed SKUs for previously unheard of cards. This led to speculation that Nvidia was preparing a new line-up for its latest GeForce product family in order to counter AMD’s “Big Navi” launch.
While we now know the relative performance for one of AMD’s new GPUs, we’re not sure if it had an impact on the development of this story. According to two independent sources that spoke to VideoCardz, the development for the RTX 3080 20GB along with the 3070 16GB has been canceled. That means that two cards which never officially existed will apparently remain that way. Or will they? Things are entirely up in the air at this point, and with good reason.
While the RTX 30 Series has seen unprecedented levels of interest from consumers, Nvidia has utterly failed to meet the demand. Instead of going with TSMC as a manufacturing partner as it did in the past, Nvidia brokered a deal with Samsung’s foundries. While Nvidia might have saved some money on paper, it seems the situation is not working out overall. In fact, another rumor that’s making the rounds suggests Nvidia may renew its partnership with TSMC for some 7nm-based Ampere cards in 2021. That would be a step up in both efficiency and power over Samsung’s 8nm node if it were to happen.
Going down the GPU rabbit hole
We bring up the manufacturing process, because one must consider all things to make sense of ever-changing rumors. The introduction of AMD’s RDNA2-based GPUs will bring more competition to the market. If Nvidia wants to retain market share, it will need to ensure consumers can purchase its products, otherwise AMD will see a tremendous selling opportunity. We’ve already seen what AMD did to Intel, so it makes sense that Nvidia could consolidate its existing lineup with the intent of focusing on production volume to stifle the competition for now.
These high-VRAM designs may not be completely dead though. Nvidia simply could be setting its sights on a TSMC-based Super/Ti line-up next year. In other words, more RTX 30 Series variants may become available when Nvidia finds a way to make them. One final point of consideration is that it might just be too soon for Nvidia to 1-up its beloved $1499 USD RTX 3090. The card is seeing just as much demand as the 3080 at the moment, so it would almost be like Nvidia was competing against itself if it made a better 3080 (for a lot less money) so soon. Just this reason alone could have canceled the RTX 3080 20GB.
At the end of the day though, it’s important to remember that rumors run wild, especially in the world of semiconductors. We may need to wait some time before any real facts crop up. Look towards CES 2021 in January as a possible window for announcements. Companies like AMD love to flash fancy new products around there, and higher-memory GPU options would be particularly great for businesses to see in addition to us gamers.