Unreleased Prototype Shows NVIDIA GeForce “GTX 2080” Graphics Card Was A Thing Until It Wasn’t

A Redditor on NVIDIA's subreddit has managed to obtain a very rare GeForce GTX 2080 graphics card which seems to be a prototype model. The rarity comes from the fact that the card is labeled as a "GeForce GTX" series product whereas the official retail version uses the "RTX" branding and it makes us question, was NVIDIA's decision to use the RTX branding a last-minute change or was it done for confidentiality reasons.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080 Graphics Card Pops Out of Nowhere, Confidentiality Reasons or RTX Branding A Last Minute Change?

Over on NVIDIA's subreddit, u/ascendance22 managed to land his hands on an early prototype of NVIDIA's Turing graphics card. This card which was bought off the eBay marketplace has the label "699-1G180-0000-300 D1"  with the "1G180" SKU code matching the RTX 2080 FE (Founders Edition) graphics card. Do note that the card itself is also a Founders Edition variant.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080 Graphics Card Engineering Sample (Credits: u/ascendance22):

nvidia-geforce-gtx-2080-rtx-2080-engineering-sample-graphics-card-_1
nvidia-geforce-gtx-2080-rtx-2080-engineering-sample-graphics-card-_2

What makes this sample really interesting is the fact that it uses the "GeForce GTX" branding which we all know has been dropped from NVIDIA's premium graphics card range that supports RT or Ray Tracing capabilities. The GeForce GTX and GeForce GT naming scheme still live on in entry-level cards but the rest of the lineup is all "RTX" from now onwards. The GeForce RTX 2080 was one of the first graphics cards to support ray tracing capabilities and NVIDIA branded it under the new "RTX" designation however the existence of the GTX 2080 sample points out two things.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080 Graphics Card Engineering Sample (Credits: ebay):

nvidia-geforce-gtx-2080-rtx-2080-engineering-sample-graphics-card-_4
nvidia-geforce-gtx-2080-rtx-2080-engineering-sample-graphics-card-_5
nvidia-geforce-gtx-2080-rtx-2080-engineering-sample-graphics-card-_6

Either this is an early sample when NVIDIA still hadn't decided to use the "RTX" labeling, making it seem like a last-minute change, or the second one which has been pointed out by Kopite7kimi that this was done for confidentiality reasons to avoid leaks and rumors in the first place. Both make sense and we know that the initial rumors for the RTX 2080 graphics card labeled it as the GTX 1180 and even the GTX 2080 in a few cases. NVIDIA's CEO, Jensen Huang, also taunted that all of the leaks were fake during the announcement and reveal of the GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card.

As for the graphics card itself, the buyer states that he got it for around $360 US which seems very reasonable. The graphics card retains the same specs as the RTX 2080 Founders Edition and comes the only difference is the "GeForce GTX" logo on the sides of the shroud which also illuminates like the official version. Based on the performance metrics, the card performs like the RTX 2080 too, and also has ray tracing support.

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Things like these should be pointed out because we are on the verge of the launch of NVIDIA's next-gen RTX 40 series which like the RTX 30 series will go through various revisions in terms of naming and specs prior to launch. This also explains that NVIDIA has multiple SKUs with multiple core configurations and specs ready prior to launch so while they are legit, only a certain selection will actually make it to retail.

News Source: Videocardz

Products mentioned in this post

RTX 2080
USD 729
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