Can’t find Nvidia RTX 3080 stock? Here’s another way to upgrade your GeForce graphics card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

It’s been an exercise in deep frustration trying to find where to buy the Nvidia RTX 3080, as well as the GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. Only the GeForce RTX 3090 has popped back in stock recently — our audio editor James Archer managed to get one — but that card is incredibly expensive. 

But an enterprising YouTuber has found a way to upgrade a GPU without the frustration of hunting down devices that are rarer than unicorn tears. VIK-on uploaded a video showing how he managed to upgrade a Palit GeForce RTX 2070 with 16GB of video RAM.  

Our colleagues at Tom’s Hardware noted that the YouTuber's upgrade from the RTX 2070’s 8GB of Micron GDDR6 video memory to 16GB of Samsung GDDR6 VRAM was based on a leaked diagram that VIK-on received. This illustration showed the RTX 2070 with a 16GB VRAM option. 

This is interesting, as there had been leaks suggesting Nvidia could release a 16GB version of the GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 a couple of years ago. VIK-on’s DIY upgrade demonstrated that support for double the VRAM must have been baked into the previous generation of GeForce graphics cards. 

16GB of VRAM is more than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080’s 10GB, though the 3080 uses faster GDDR6X memory. But the current RTX 3070 has 8GB of GDDR6, so VIK-on’s modified RTX 2070 beats its successor in terms of memory volume.

However, the RTX 3070 uses the new Ampere architecture, which delivers a boost in performance over the RTX 2070’s Turing architecture. As such, a boost in VRAM won’t suddenly help the RTX 2070 take on the RTX 3070.

Still, it's an interesting upgrade to a graphics card that’s already rather powerful, given that the RTX 2070 comes with ray tracing and deep learning supersampling capabilities. There is a catch, though: The YouTuber’s upgrade is far from stable when under a full load.

It's also a tricky upgrade to do unless you’re experienced with taking apart graphics cards. Tom’s Hardware goes into more detail about how VIK-on made his upgrade, but we’d advise that you don’t attempt this on your own RTX 2070, unless you’re feeling very confident or very bored (or both).

In theory, double the RAM should certainly help the RTX 2070 handle games with a lot of complicated graphical assets. But it would need to remain stable under heavy loads to be effective. Nevertheless, this homemade upgrade is a promising sign that there's potential to create a 16GB RTX 2070 , and that we could see the GeForce RTX 3070 get such an upgrade later on down the line.

If you're after a more powerful gaming machine without the risk of DIY disaster, then check out our picks for the best gaming PCs.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • d0x360
    An interesting experiment but pointless when it comes to gaming performance. With a 70 series he's not gaming at 4k which is really where needing more than 8 gigs of vram comes in..

    At 1440p or below having more than 8 gigs on that card isn't going to provide any real benefit. He might get a few more fps when ray tracing is enabled but a few fps isn't really worth the risk.
  • daveskynet
    LOL They can piss up a rope with that idea. I'll wait. Even if it is another 6 months. IF by then!!