Nvidia is set to halt production of the RTX 3080 12GB

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Nvidia is rumored to have cancelled the production of the RTX 3080 12GB GPU. It’s not a big surprise as we get closer to the launch of next generation Lovelace cards, though it is a shame that Nvidia chose to cancel the superior model over the 3080 10GB.

The news comes from @Zed_Wang (opens in new tab) (via elchapuzasinformatico.com (opens in new tab)). On top of the pending launch of its RTX 40 series successor, there’s no doubt that falling GPU prices would have influenced the decision. As the price gap between the RTX 3080 10GB (opens in new tab) and the RTX 3080 Ti (opens in new tab) closes, there’s less room for the RTX 3080 12GB (opens in new tab), especially since the far more ubiquitous 10GB card needs to be sold off before its replacement arrives.

A look at 3080 pricing at Newegg shows that prices are continuing to drop. At the time of writing  (and not counting refurbished or open box cards), there are five models listed at under $800 (opens in new tab), and two of them are 12GB variants. Moving up to the 3080 Ti, the cheapest cards are under RRP at $1,100 and falling. The 3080 12GB would seem to be messing up Nvidia’s need to clear out 3080 10GB stocks. No one should buy the 10GB version if the 12GB one is the same price.

Unless you’re a GPU enthusiast, it might not be apparent that 3080 12GB cards use a superior GPU with more shaders and a wider memory bus. The 3080 10GB contains 8704 cores, while the 12GB has 8960. But by far the bigger difference is the memory bus, at 320-bit for the 10GB and 384-bit for the 12GB. This means effective bandwidth is 760GB/s and 912GB/s respectively. So, if you buy a 3080 12GB, you get more shaders and an extra 2GB of memory with more bandwidth. It’s a no brainer if both carry the same price.

RTX 3080 Specs
RTX 3080 10GB RTX 3080 12GB RTX 3080 Ti
GPU GA102-200 GA102-220 GA102-225
CUDA cores 8704 8960 10240
Memory 10GB GDDR6X 12GB GDDR6X 12GB GDDR6X
Memory Bus 320-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Effective Bandwidth 760.3 GB/s 912.4 GB/s 912.4 GB/s

What is Nvidia to do if it wants to sell stockpiles of 3080 10GB cards that no one should buy ahead of the 12GB version at the same price? That’s easy, cancel the 12GB. That means buyers will have to buy the 3080 10GB (which is still an excellent card) or cough up the money for the 3080 Ti, which is essentially a 3080 12GB with more shaders.

Your next upgrade

3080 10GB buyers have very little to worry about though. The real world performance differences between the 10GB and 12GB cards aren’t large at all. Unless you’re playing games at 4K with large texture packs, 10GB is still sufficient, though to what degree that will remain the case in 2023 and beyond is uncertain.

The 3080 has been in production for much longer than the 12GB version and if there’s a SKU that vendors will want to clear out before the next gen launch, it’s that one.  Vendors won’t want to be holding them for any longer than they have to. Especially if the high end next gen cards are as fast as they’re rumored to be. (opens in new tab) A fast RTX 4070 would kill sales of 3080’s overnight.

If you had to pay a couple of hundred extra for the 12GB card, we’d buy the 10GB one, but when both are the same price, definitely grab the 12GB card. That extra 2GB could come in handy in the future. But you’ll have to be quick. Once they’re gone, they’ll be gone forever.