Alleged Nvidia RTX 3080 specs are exciting, but doubtful

We all love a good rumour, but sometimes they should be taken with more than a pinch of salt

Nvidia Ampere or Hopper?

Recently, an image from Chiphell forums (via twitter user 9550pro, aka HXL) surfaced of a supposed Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card, sporting a peculiar cooler and housing design. “Peculiar” because the image shows a twin-fan design with more heatsink fins than you’d know what to do with and an underlying PCB that is much shorter than we’d expect.

Now, another apparent leak, this time reported by IgorsLAB (via VideoCardz), details apparent specs for this next-gen graphics card, and also claims that Nvidia is launching an internal investigation into the leaked image. Along with apparent RTX 3080 specs, those of an RTX 3080 Super or Ti, and an RTX 3090 Super/Ti/TITAN are also detailed, and the main focus of this new generation, according to the leak, seems to be on memory.

Igor Wallossek of IgorsLAB says: “As I have now learned from my own sources, Nvidia has announced an internal investigation into the leak. The focus here is on Foxconn and BYD (Build Your Dreams) as contract manufacturers of the Founders Edition, where the source of the leak is suspected” [auto-translated by Chrome].

IgorsLAB also mentions that “not even Nvidia’s product and sales manager should have seen these pictures before the leak”. If this is true, then the leak truly is ‘hot off the press’, but this would also mean – and especially so considering how far we are from a next-gen RTX GPU release – that the supposed design and specs of the RTX 3080 could be far from finalised.

So, even if the leaks are true they might not be final, and there’s plenty of time for Nvidia to change things up. But are they true? Obviously there’s no way to know for sure, and Nvidia hasn’t commented on the matter, but judging by the content of the leak – namely, the supposed specs of the three next-gen Nvidia SKUs – it’s doubtful.

First of all, what is the supposed “exclusive information” about the RTX 3080 lineup? There are a few things. First, the manufacturing price of the RTX 3080 housing and cooler is said to be $150 USD. Second, it’s said to require a special circuit board and an additional cutout. Third, there are said to be three graphics card SKUs to be based on the PG132 board, all based on the GA102 GPU chip, codenamed SKU10, SKU20, and SKU30. Some specs are also listed for these SKUs.

SKU PCB GPU Memory Interface TBP Connectors
RTX 3090 Super/Ti/TITAN SKU10 PG132 GA102 24 GB GDDR6X (double-sided) 384-bit 350W 3x DP, HDMI, NVLink
RTX 3080 Super/Ti SKU20 PG132 GA102 11GB GDDR6X 352-bit 320W 3x DP, HDMI
RTX 3080 SKU30 PG132 GA102 10GB GDDR6X 320-bit 320W 3x DP, HDMI

These memory specs do look impressive, and probably begin the stirrings of excitement somewhere deep down within many an avid hardware geek, especially taken alongside the previous rumour that put the RTX 3080 Ti at over 21 TFLOPS of performance. But this latest rumour, just like the last one, is a little dubious.

As VideoCardz points out, these SKUs are listed as running GDDR6X memory, and “not a single brand has even announced the production of such memory technology”. With only three or four months until the rumoured Nvidia Ampere release date, you’d have thought there’d be more talk of GDDR6X production if this is the memory to be used in the RTX 30-series GPUs.

Also, the difference between the supposed RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti/Super looks frighteningly small. There is only 1GB of difference in memory, from 10GB with the 3080 to 11GB with the 3080 Ti/Super. And this is all apparently on the same GPU, the GA102. Of course, clock speed adjustments and different streaming multiprocessor (SM) configurations could distinguish the two SKUs further, but a mere 1GB increase in memory for the 3080 Ti/Super seems somewhat unlikely.

As is the case with most leaks, especially ones that are so far away from the expected release date, the best response is to take this one with more than a pinch of salt. Still, if the original leaked image is revealed as credible, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 will at least look good. But I know I’m sparse in company with that opinion.