Things became less confusing when Nvidia reportedly stopped producing the GeForce RTX 3080 12GB model in July, as the graphics card was no longer at odds with the original 10GB version. The GPU is once again rearing its head, however, as a reliable hardware leaker says the 12GB version is back with a vengeance.
It’s a curious turn of events considering Nvidia is already struggling with the amount of RTX 3000 GPUs it has to shift to make room for next-gen RTX 4000 models, but that’s exactly why the RTX 3080 12GB is making a comeback. Tech aficionado Zed__Wang says Nvidia has far too many unused GA102 chips left, and has naturally turned to producing its souped-up flagship to shift them.
As VideoCardz points out, the GA102 chip is the overall designation of the graphics processing unit inside both RTX 3080s, the RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3090, and RTX 3090 Ti. Nvidia is still producing all of these graphics cards, but might consider repurposing higher-end GA102 chips meant for the RTX 3090 series in order to make more RTX 3080 12GB graphics cards instead.
More is potentially less
Nvidia hasn’t officially commented on the claims, but there’s a risk that comes with shifting focus. Using a higher-end chip in a lower-end GPU risks the company’s profit margin because the RTX 3080 12GB doesn’t cost as much as its RTX 3090 series, but Nvidia might end up shifting more as a result.
There’s also the looming RTX 4000 release date, which leaks suggest is currently at the mercy of current stock. Nvidia might be willing to take a hit on the chin in order to better position itself as a next-gen leader rather than risk falling behind.
If you’re in the US, it might not be in your best interests to grab an RTX 3080 12GB. While producing more of these should eventually reduce the price of them, there are some RTX 3080 Ti GPUs that currently cost less at the time of writing. If you can get the best graphics card $30 USD cheaper than its lesser, why wouldn’t you?