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Out of nowhere, NVIDIA reveals an RTX 3080 with 12GB of RAM

When the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 originally launched, some were left scratching their heads about the fact that the GPU was only outfitted with 10GB of RAM. Today, NVIDIA silently fixed that issue by revealing the RTX 3080 12GB. As the name suggests, the new graphics card comes with 12GB of RAM, and while that’s probably the most significant upgrade, there are a few other differences worth noting as well.

Image: NVIDIA

What the 3080 12GB changes

What’s strange about this situation is that NVIDIA is announcing the RTX 3080 12GB without much fanfare. There’s been no press release or blog post announcing the new GPU, and even the NVIDIA GeForce Twitter account is silent on the matter. The only indication of the RTX 3080 12GB’s existence seems to be in updated specifications for the 3080 on the NVIDIA GeForce website.

In that spec sheet, we get to see the differences between the 12GB card and the 10GB iteration. In addition to an added 2GB of RAM, the new 3080 comes with 8,960 CUDA cores compared to the 10GB card’s 8,704. Memory interface width has also been upgraded to 384-bit from 320-bit, while base clock speed has taken a slight drop to 1.26 GHz. Finally, total power draw has gone up to 350W (from 320W), which isn’t much of a surprise.

Beyond that, the 12GB 3080 is the same card as the 10GB one, with most specifications staying the same. Still, this is a nice change for those who thought that 10GB of memory might be too little for a card as powerful as the 3080, especially now that we live in a world where the 12GB 3060 and 3080 Ti exist.

Good luck finding one

For now, we’re not sure which manufacturing partners will have 3080 12GB cards ready to go or when those cards will be available at retailers. NVIDIA’s shadow announcement of the 12GB 3080 makes it hard to determine when the card will actually launch, but one must assume it’ll be soon, if not today.

Image: NVIDIA

That makes pricing a big question mark at the moment, for more reasons than one. The only 3080 cards listed on NVIDIA’s website are 10GB ones, so we don’t have a base MSRP to go on. Even if we did, the ongoing semiconductor shortage and sky-high demand for GPUs have prompted manufacturers to raise prices across the board, so even if NVIDIA had set an MSRP for the 3080 12GB, there’s a good chance cards from the company’s manufacturing partners would cost more.

Of course, the semiconductor shortage likely means that it’ll be difficult to get your hands on one of these cards, regardless of cost. Whenever NVIDIA’s manufacturing partners launch their cards, we expect them to sell out quickly. Restocks will go just as fast and available stock will be hard to find until we’re on the other side of this shortage, which could last much of this year or even extend into 2023.

So, if you’re going to go on the prowl for a 12GB 3080, good luck to you. Assuming the pricing difference between this and the 10GB 3080 isn’t too great, it could be worth chasing the 12GB model, but with a global shortage like this, those who are in the market for a new card can’t exactly be picky.

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