One of the worst-kept secrets in the gaming industry has now been made official. After months of leaks, NVIDIA today officially launched the GeForce RTX 3080 12GB, which slots in between the existing RTX 3080 10GB and RTX 3080 Ti and could be in the running for the best graphics cards for gaming. There wasn't any considerable fanfare about the new SKU, as NVIDIA simply updated the main RTX 3080 product page to reflect the changes.
As we previously reported, the RTX 3080 12GB differentiates itself by including 12GB of 19 Gbps GDDR6X memory instead of 10GB. The other big differentiator is that the GDDR6X runs on a wider 384-bit memory bus (versus 320 bits), giving it a roughly 20 percent boost in available bandwidth. There are also a few other changes meant to boost performance.
|Graphics Card||RTX 3090||RTX 3080 Ti||RTX 3080 12GB||RTX 3080|
|Process Technology||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N|
|Die size (mm^2)||628.4||628.4||628.4||628.4|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1695||1665||1710||1710|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||19.5||19||19||19|
|VRAM Bus Width||384||384||384||320|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||35.6||34.1||30.6||29.8|
|TFLOPS FP16 (Tensor)||142 (285)||136 (273)||123 (245)||119 (238)|
|Launch Date||Sep 2020||Jun 2021||Jan 2022||Sep 2020|
The number of CUDA cores increased from 8706 to 8960, RT cores ticked up from 68 to 70, and Tensor cores jumped from 272 to 280. Interestingly, the base clock is slightly lower at 1.26 GHz compared to 1.44 GHz, though the boost clock remains the same at 1.71 GHz. Finally, the TDP for the RTX 3080 12GB is 30 watts higher at 350 watts.
With these performance increases, the RTX 3080 12GB should be nipping at the heels of the more expensive RTX 3080 Ti. In fact, we're a bit surprised this product even got released, but it likely all goes back to pricing and availability. It's also apparently "driven by Nvidia's partners," and there won't be any Founders Edition available — the original RTX 3080 will continue to be sold, and this is simply a new variant.
The RTX 3080 10GB has an MSRP of $699, which in light of the shortages and price gouging occurring at retail appears to have been "too low." The RTX 3080 Ti comes in at $1,199, and while Nvidia didn't specify an MSRP on the new 3080 12GB, we expect it will land somewhere around the $999 price point.
Obviously, GPU prices are out of control in the GPU sphere. Due to chip shortages, higher-end Ampere GPUs are selling for nearly 2x their MSRP on third-party marketplaces. We can expect the same situation for the RTX 3080 12GB, as MSI's cards were briefly listed on German retailer Mindfactory's website for €1,699 (around $1,926).