Given the ongoing GPU shortages, some users are looking for basic functionality rather than performance. Perhaps that's why Nvidia launched its GeForce GT 1010 based on a four-years-old low-end GP108 GPU in 2021, or AMD released its Radeon RX 6500 XT notebook GPU into the desktop world. Of course, given the positioning of the GeForce GT 1010, it was also never supposed to be in retail, but it has happened anyway.
A Lenovo-badged GeForce GT 1010 has emerged on Taobao, a Chinese online marketplace (via VideoCardz), and @Zed_Wang has published an image of a LeadTek-made GeForce GT 1010 board. While companies like LeadTek produce cards for PC makers, they rarely put their labels on these types of products, meaning that the device in question is specifically aimed at the channel or even retail markets. The card is available at Tabao for about $70.
We have doubts about GeForce GT 1010's success in retail because of its low performance — Wang ran the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme benchmark and got 153 points. To put that into context, Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2060 scores around 2800 – 2900 points in this benchmark. But then again, Nvidia's GP108 was never meant to perform well in gaming applications.
Entry-level notebook GPUs are designed to be cheap and consume as little power as possible. To that end, they feature modest specs and poor performance in games, but when you need something inexpensive and low power, performance in games is the least of your concerns. Nvidia originally released its GP108 as an entry-level desktop and notebook GPU in 2017, and since it never produced a low-end Turing GPU, it continued to manufacture the chip. Then to address demand from its OEM customers, Nvidia quietly released its GeForce GT 1010 based on a cut-down GP108 early last year.
With 256 CUDA cores, 16 texture units, 16 render backends, and 2GB of memory onboard, the GeForce GT 1010 would have been a fine gaming solution in 2008, but this product won't appeal to many gamers in 2021. That's why Nvidia only made it available to OEMs who needed to serve business customers that sometimes demand standalone graphics cards in their desktops. Amid the GPU shortage, even a cut-down GP108-based GeForce GT 1010 is good enough for companies like Lenovo. Now the question is if it will be good enough for retail sales, too.