NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 Flagship GPU Pictured For The First Time

The first-ever picture of NVIDIA's upcoming RTX 3080 graphics card has leaked out (via Chiphell via Videocardz). It's officially open season for NVIDIA's upcoming RTX 3000 series of GPUs. The company is planning to launch these cards by holiday 2020, so you should see these launch either at the virtual Computex conference later this year or around that time. Interestingly, a leaked picture from the assembly line was the first item to leak for the RTX 2000 series lineup as well.

NVIDIA's RTX 3080 graphics card features bold new design with bi-directional fans, irregular PCB and curved heatsink

NVIDIA's new RTX 3080 features a very cyber-punk yet whimsical design whose inspiration I can't seem to put a finger on. I for one love the symmetric and futuristic looking shape (the graphics card isn't actually blue by the way, that is just the packaging film on it. It is still very much polished metal). The materials used seem to be very high quality although I cannot tell from the picture whether the edges used are still aluminum like the RTX 2080 or the company has reverted back to plastic.

NVIDIA's bold new design for the RTX 3000 series GPUs.

Here are some key design considerations of the new NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics card:

  1. The fans are bi-directional. One fan has an open-intake at the bottom while the other has an open-intake at the top. While it is hard to judge the exact direction of each fan I would assume the bottom one to be a static pressure fan while the top one throws air out in an attempt to keep air flowing through the fins.
  2. The heat sink is curved. This is a very interesting design because normally it would disrupt airflow but NVIDIA seems to be attempting a push full configuration which would rely on pressure differentials to keep the air flowing and might work wonders with this design philosophy.
  3. The PCB is irregularly shapes and ends when it touches the heatsink. In the image below, only the grey plastic part of the RTX 3080 houses the PCB, the fan section does not. This confirms previous rumors that had indicated a small and irregular shaped PCB for NVIDIA's upcoming Ampere GPUs.
  4. This is almost certainly a Founder's Edition (if NVIDIA still wants to call these that) GPU. A design like this would be incredibly hard to tool and machine and AIBs would almost certainly prefer to go with their traditional Heatpipe and triple fan designs if NVIDIA allows them. Unless we see some form of packaging with NVIDIA supplying these parts (not going to happen) what you are looking at is almost certainly a founders edition run in limited quantity (and very high MSRP).

According to old rumors the RTX 3080 will ship with a GA104 GPU, and replace the existing RTX 2080 with 48 SMs (3072 CUDA cores). This is very slightly more than the RTX 2080 at 46 SMs. Coupled with higher performance throughput and improved RTX cores you are looking at a significant performance increase if this turns out to be true - in fact, it is estimated to be just slightly less in performance than the RTX 2080 Ti current generation flagship. The RTX 3080 GPU will be coupled with 8GB/16GB of vRAM and a 256-bit bus width. Edit: New rumors have indicated that the card may actually ship with a GA102 core that is extremely powerful.

While there is no word on pricing yet, we have a feeling NVIDIA will take a much more lenient approach with MSRP (at the very least for the custom AIB parts) this time around as compared to Turing considering the fact the former was very slow to gain traction due to its large price tag. The company is also shifting to the 7nm process with the Ampere series so it will have access to significant cost savings - some of which it should pass on to consumers.

What do you think of NVIDIA's new RTX 3080 design?
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