RTX 3080 12GB RIP – you shouldn’t have existed in the first place

Nvidia has reportedly discontinued production of its GeForce RTX 3080 12GB graphics card, the most powerful variant of the original RTX 3080 GPU.

It’s important to note that this is not an official announcement, so take this information with a grain of salt, but Twitter user and GPU enthusiast @Zed_Wang (opens in a new tab) claims that the card will no longer be produced by Nvidia due to the price drop, writing “After the dramatic price drop of the 3080Ti, the 3080 12G now has the same price as the 3080Ti and that is why Nvidia decides to stop sending 3080 12G chips to AIC”.

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We have to consider this a rumor given the lack of an official source, but we have contacted Nvidia for clarification.

With the recent cryptocurrency market crash, the market has been flooded with cheap used graphics cards as cryptominers attempt to sell hardware to recoup their losses. This, coupled with the natural easing of the ongoing chip shortage, means that for the first time in nearly two years, graphics cards are available at MSRP.

It’s typical for GPU manufacturers to scale back production before a new generation of cards launch in order to free up space. Older hardware will still be relevant for a while, especially if current-gen cards see a dramatic price drop when the RTX 4080 arrives, but generally speaking Nvidia’s attention needs to be focused more on the production of Lovelace cards.

As PC Gamer reports, GPU prices on Newegg are pretty representative of the situation. There are currently five models listed under $800 (opens in a new tab)two of which are 12GB variants which likely impact the presumed willingness to sell existing 10GB versions of the card, which is a fairly unattractive offer if the 12GB one is the same price.

Given this, the explanation that the RTX 3080 Ti sells for the same price as the RTX 3080 12GB seems legitimate: it makes no sense to keep producing a card that prevents sales of other surplus GPUs, especially one that was probably created to avoid wasting chips.


Opinion: It was stupid to have two RTX 3080s in the first place

The RTX 3080 12GB was first rumored in December 2021, and when it was finally unveiled it turned out to be just a very minor upgrade of the original RTX 3080 GPU.

In fact, Nvidia may have originally planned to scrap any design plans, as rumors at the time went back and forth between anticipation of a release and suggestions that Nvidia wouldn’t release the card. . It’s not uncommon for planned graphics cards to be canceled and then uncancelled behind the scenes, but it does create some suspicion.

The most likely reason we got two different variants of the RTX 3080 is that at the time of its release GPUs were even harder to come by than gold dust. It’s no wonder we now know that cryptominers have spent nearly US$15 billion on cards over the past two years, which likely contributed to (if not directly caused) the scarcity. This, coupled with artificial inflation, has resulted in overvalued GPU prices.

This means that the RTX 3080 12GB was likely a consolidation by Nvidia to try to bring more graphics cards to market to fill the gigantic price gap between the original RTX 3080 10GB and the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090.

This is too probably these cards were created to avoid waste. Chips intended for more powerful cards may not have passed inspection, leaving Nvidia with a bunch of hardware too underpowered to squeeze into an RTX 3090 and too powerful for the RTX 3080. It makes sense to using them rather than wasting them, so it’s hard to believe the RTX 3080 12GB was an intentional design and not just a recycling opportunity.

This is not an uncommon practice in GPU manufacturing. There is good evidence to suggest that a similar situation occurred with chips intended for the RTX 3080 Ti last year. Still, creating two SKUs for the same GPU seems unnecessarily confusing to consumers, and the amount of cards produced by both Nvidia and AMD seemed a bit excessive towards the end of this current generation.

This saturation was likely to fix supply issues, so I really hope we get a miracle this release. Fewer SKUs, improved inventory, and consistent pricing are nearly impossible to guarantee, but provided the crypto market remains hurt, we might have a chance of picking up a Lovelace or RDNA3 GPU at a reasonable post-launch price.

About Margie Peters

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