To keep the ball rolling with the latest Nvidia Ampere leaks, German news outlet Igor's Lab (opens in new tab) has enlightened us with new and juicy details on Nvidia's next-generation GeForce RTX graphics cards. While Igor has reliable sources in the industry, it's still prudent to approach the information with a bit of caution.
As wacky as the design might seem, the alleged photographs (opens in new tab) of the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition are apparently real. Igor's sources have confirmed to the publication that Nvidia has reportedly launched an internal investigation to find the rat. Foxconn and BYD (Build Your Dreams) are the current suspects, since Nvidia contract those manufacturers to build the Founders Edition cooler.
Surprisingly, Igor has reason to believe that not even Nvidia's own product and sales manager knew about the new design for Ampere Founders Edition graphics cards. Now that the cat is out of the bag, Nvidia might have to go back to the drawing board to redesign the cooler so that it retains that "wow" element when the chipmaker officially launches Ampere.
Buzz around the industry suggests that the entire Founders Edition cooling system costs up to $150 to manufacture. This only means bad news for consumers as looming Ampere graphics cards could come with premium price tags.
Nvidia Ampere Specifications*
|Graphics Card||GPU||Memory||Memory Interface||TDP (W)||Outputs|
|GeForce RTX 3090 (Ti / Super)||GA102||24GB GDDR6X||384-bit||350||3 DisplayPort, HDMI, NVLink|
|GeForce RTX 3080 (Ti / Super)||GA102||11GB GDDR6X||352-bit||320||3 DisplayPort, HDMI|
|GeForce RTX 3070||GA102||10GB GDDR6X||320-bit||320||3 DisplayPort, HDMI|
*Specifications are unconfirmed.
The reference Ampere PCB, which is internally known as PG132, measures up to 21.3cm in length without the cutout that the funky cooler requires. Igor believes that Nvidia will use this PCB and the GA102 silicon to power up to three tiers of Ampere graphics cards. Thus far, the rumor points to the GeForce RTX 3090 and GeForce RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) with their respective Ti and Super variants, along with the GeForce RTX 3070. The aforementioned graphics cards will purportedly leverage GDDR6X memory.
The GeForce RTX 3090 (Ti or Super) could arrive with up to 24GB of GDDR6X memory that runs across a 384-bit memory interface. The graphics card may also sport a 350W TDP (thermal design power) rating. However, we're still not quite sold on the idea. The alleged specifications hint to a Titan-level graphics card. Our wild guess is that the GeForce RTX 3090 is in reality the successor to the existing Turing-based Nvidia Titan RTX (opens in new tab). The presence of the NVLink connector supports our theory. It's plausible that Nvidia doesn't want to call it the Titan RTX II and decided on GeForce RTX 3090 instead, but it remains to be seen which direction Nvidia will take.
The GeForce RTX 3080 (Ti or Super) may be limited to 'only' 11GB of GDDR6X memory. That would come via a reduced 352-bit memory bus, though it seems unlikely the 3080 Ti, 3080 Super and vanilla 3080 would use the same memory configuration. Most likely, there's only one name (e.g. RTX 3080) planned for each tier right now. Lastly, the GeForce RTX 3070 might have 10GB of GDDR6X memory that communicates via a 320-bit memory interface. Both the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 2070 supposedly sport a 320W TDP.
Given the leaks and Nvidia's investigation into the leaker, it's realistic to assume that Nvidia is planning to use that strange-looking Founders Edition cooler for all three Ampere-powered graphics cards. If the increased TDP that Igor cites is correct, that certainly explains the drastic revamp of the cooling solution. It's also worth pointing out that the current RTX 20-series coolers can get very hot on the metal backplate, and that's with 260W and lower TDPs, so this new cooler design should combat that.
In any event, Ampere is rumored to touchdown in September (opens in new tab) so it's not a long wait before we see what Nvidia has in store for the hardware world.