It is speculated that Nvidia has stopped production of its GeForce RTX 3080 12GB graphics card, the most powerful variant of the original RTX 3080 GPU.
It’s important to note that this is not an official announcement, so take this information with a pinch of salt, but Twitter user and GPU enthusiast @Zed_Wang (opens in new tab) states that the card will no longer be produced by Nvidia due to falling prices, writing “Following the dramatic price drop of the 3080Ti, the 3080 12G is now priced the same as the 3080Ti which is why Nvidia decides to stop shipping 3080 chips 12G for the AIC”.
no, only 3080 12G was produced. After the dramatic price drop of the 3080Ti, the 3080 12G is now the same price as the 3080Ti which is why Nvidia decides to stop shipping 3080 12G chips to the AIC.June 26, 2022
We have to consider this a rumor due to the lack of an official source, but we have reached out to Nvidia for clarification.
With the recent cryptocurrency market crash, the market has been flooded with cheap and used graphics cards as cryptominers try to sell equipment to recoup their losses. This, along with the natural alleviation of the ongoing chip shortage, means that, for the first time in nearly two years, graphics cards are available on MSRP.
It is typical for GPU manufacturers to scale back production before the release of a new generation of cards to free up space. Older hardware will still be relevant for some time to come, especially if current-gen cards see a dramatic drop in price when the RTX 4080 arrives, but generally speaking, more attention from Nvidia needs to be focused on producing Lovelace cards.
As reported by PC Gamer (opens in new tab), GPU pricing on Newegg is a good representative of the situation. There are currently five models listed under $800 (opens in new tab)two of which are 12GB variants that are likely affecting the presumptive drive to sell the existing 10GB versions of the card, which is a rather unattractive offer if the 12GB is the same price.
Given this, the explanation that the RTX 3080 Ti is being sold for the same price as the RTX 3080 12GB seems legitimate: it makes no sense to continue producing a card that is preventing the sale of other surplus GPUs, especially one that was probably created to avoid the chip waste.
Opinion: It was stupid to have two RTX 3080s in the first place
The RTX 3080 12GB was first released in December 2021, and when it was finally revealed, it was revealed to be just a very minor upgrade from the original RTX 3080 GPU.
In fact, Nvidia may have originally planned to drop plans to create it, as rumors at the time went back and forth between anticipation of a release and suggestions that Nvidia wouldn’t release the card. It’s not uncommon for early graphics cards to be canceled and not canceled behind the scenes, but this creates some suspicion.
The most likely reason we have two different variations of the RTX 3080 is that at the time of launch, GPUs were still harder to find than gold dust. No wonder why, given that we now know that cryptominers have spent nearly $15 billion on cards over the past two years, which likely contributed to (if not directly caused) the shortage. This, combined with artificial inflation, resulted in overpriced GPUs.
This means that the RTX 3080 12GB was likely a consolidation by Nvidia to try and get more graphics cards on the market to fill the huge price gap between the original RTX 3080 10GB and the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090.
That is also probably these cards were created to avoid waste. Chips intended for more powerful cards may not have passed inspection, leaving Nvidia with a hardware stack too weak to fit an RTX 3090 and too powerful for the RTX 3080. It makes sense to use them rather than waste them, so it’s hard to believe that the RTX 3080 12GB was a planned project and not just a recycling opportunity.
This is not an uncommon practice in GPU manufacturing. There is some good evidence to suggest that a similar situation happened with chips destined for the RTX 3080 Ti last year. Still, creating two SKUs for the same GPU seems needlessly confusing to consumers, and the sheer amount of cards produced by Nvidia and AMD seemed a bit overwhelming at the end of this current generation.
This saturation would likely solve the supply issues, so I really hope we have a miracle in this release. Fewer SKUs, improved inventory, and consistent pricing are almost impossible to guarantee, but as long as the crypto market remains hurt, we may have a chance to buy a Lovelace or RDNA3 GPU at a reasonable price after launch.