The GTX 1180 could be an Nvidia retail-exclusive if it does actually launch in July

Nvidia graphics card

There has been a lot of excitement this week over a report by Tom’s Hardware suggesting the Nvidia GTX 1180 cards would be released in July this year. Which does seem mighty optimistic. But a counter report from Chinese site, Expreview, has suggested that’s only likely if Nvidia are going to exclude their partners and sell the graphics cards exclusively themselves.

Expreview’s Meng Xianrui has spoken to other industry sources who contradicted the statements from Tom’s Hardware, indicating that Nvidia hadn’t sent any new card notifications to vendors and normally that would happen at least two months ahead of any release. But if the GTX 1180 GPU was just going to be an Nvidia exclusive launch, that wouldn’t necessarily occur…

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Nvidia traditionally lead with reference models for their new cards, with add-in board partners (AIBs) normally allowed to sell their own designs a few months later, sporting fancy coolers and factory-overclocked chips. But historically they’ve still given the basic reference models out to their tier-one partners to slap their own stickers on and sell themselves, through their own channels.

AIB graphics cards

If they haven’t sent out new card notifications to these AIBs yet then that either means the July launch date is a work of fiction, or that Nvidia are going to exclusively sell the cards through their own store. That’s not completely unprecedented – Nvidia, for example, have sold low-volume cards like the Titan Xp through their own digital store – but it does seem massively unlikely given that a new generation of graphics cards will necessarily be chasing a volume launch.

Who knows, maybe after all the fuss over GPP Nvidia are throwing a tantrum and opting to keep the first flush of next-gen GPU cash to themselves…

Expreview also make the point that right now GTX 10-series stock is at a relatively high level, and certainly not at the sort of clearance stock level that you would associate with the last weeks of a graphics card generation’s lifespan.

They also question the previous ‘leaks’ which suggest the GTX 1180 could come with as much as 16GB of GDDR6 memory. That’s something which has baffled Jacob and I in the PCGN office too – current generation memory pricing has risen by 15% in the first quarter of 2018 and, while GDDR6 is not going to be as expensive or difficult to produce as HBM2, it’s a brand new memory technology and SK Hynix and Samsung aren’t going to just be giving it away.

Why would Nvidia want to crush their margins by putting 16GB of memory onto a gaming card that’s not really going to need that much for a long while? A GTX 1180 Ti maybe, but not a GTX 1180 or 1170.

For us, we’re still quite doubtful of a big GPU launch in July, exclusive or otherwise. The last we heard was that Nvidia was gearing up for an unexpectedly big Gamescom. So there could be some movement towards the end of August, which would line up more with previous rumours and expectations of a September launch.

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