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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti leak suggests the GPU isn’t dead — but is getting a downgrade

GeForce RTX 3080 Aorus Xtreme 10G
(Image credit: Gigabyte)

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is coming, but will only include 12GB of video memory instead of the originally-planned 20GB. 

That’s what a Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) filing from longtime Nvidia board partner Gigabyte — spotted by regular leaker Komachi — seems to suggest. The filing references a number of apparent RTX 3080 Ti models, with all of the product codes looking like they denote 12GB of memory, likely GDDR6X. That's in direct contrast to a similar Gigabyte filing from last year that listed the same models with 20GB.

For example, last year’s filing included a “GV-N308TAORUSX W-20GD,” most probably an RTX 3080 Ti equivalent of its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Aorus Xtreme 10G graphics card. This time, a “GV-N308TAORUS X-12GD” is listed — note the change from “20GD” to “12GD.” This pattern is repeated with the other listed cards, across both filings.

This certainly gives credence to the rumor that the RTX 3080 Ti was originally going to launch with 20GB of video memory, before Nvidia decided to switch to 12GB — possibly causing long delays in the process.

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Furthermore, one Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 owner recently opened up his card to find it using a chip model first rumored to be part of the RTX 3080 Ti. This suggests that Nvidia ditched the unreleased card’s original chip, repurposed it to boost RTX 3090 supply, and switched to a new chip that only needed to support 12GB of memory instead of 20GB.

We still shouldn’t necessarily take this Gigabyte filing as a list of finished products: the 20GB models in last year’s filing evidently never came to market. But it’s looking increasingly likely that Nvidia has cut the VRAM of its next high-end GPU.

Still, is that such a bad thing? 12GB is still more than enough for high-resolution gaming, and if it helps gets more graphics cards off the factory floor, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Pretty much all current-gen GPUs have been sold out for months, save for the occasional limited restock. 

So if you haven’t been able to find where to buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and don’t want to spend $1499 (minimum) on the RTX 3090, it could still be worth waiting to see how the RTX 3080 Ti turns out.