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Nvidia appears to be considering every GPU and memory config imaginable for the 30-series

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Another load of Nvidia GPU rumours have just surfaced. We’ve had plenty of leaks about the RTX 3090 Ti (GA102-350) for a while now, so that’s looking likely to happen in the new year—although nothing is definite until Nvidia actually announces it. This has recently been joined by rumours of an RTX 3050 (GA107-350) and RTX 3050 Ti (GA106-150) as well as a 16GB spin of the RTX 3070 Ti (GA104-401) and a 12GB version of the RTX 3080 (GA102-220).

That’s a lot of new GPUs. Potentially. One explanation is that these are chips Nvidia has produced for its own validation but has no intention of actually manufacturing in volume.  Or simply hearsay.

We’ve seen some supporting evidence for the former, with the original rumours of the RTX 3080 Ti (GA102-250) prepared to take on the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT with 20GB of VRAM and essentially being a cutdown RTX 3090. What was finally released under that name was a very different beast—the 12GB RTX 3080 Ti uses the GA102-225 GPU instead.

Some of these ‘rumours’ are people simply filling in the gaps in Nvidia’s 30-series lineup. The RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti are obvious candidates here, simply because Nvidia currently has nothing below the RTX 3060 in its 30-series stack on desktop. Surely such GPUs will appear at some point? If only so Nvidia uses up more of the chips it is producing.

The fact the RTX 3050 exists in mobile form has made this a likely candidate for desktops for a while now. The usually reliable hardware leaker, Kopite, has stirred up renewed interest in such GPUs with a couple of recent tweets.

Where is my tweet about 3050 Ti? I want to update that.Maybe, RTX 3050 Ti, GA106-150-A1, 3072FP32, 6/12G GD6. A RUMOR.October 13, 2021

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Updated, GA107-350-A1, more TGP.October 13, 2021

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One possible complication here is that there are rumours the RTX 2060 could make a return. This would potentially be battling at the same price point, or thereabouts, making it unlikely that both would exist at the same time. Of course, re-releasing a card like that raises just as many questions as it answers. 

Then there are the rumours about different memory configurations of existing cards—a 16GB RTX 3070 Ti and 12GB RTX 3080. Again these could be down to Nvidia exploring different memory configurations with no particular intention of producing them for the mass market. Having said that, new rumours over on Videocardz suggest that board partners have been told to prepare for such releases.

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VRAM on graphics cards can be a contentious issue, just because it’s often used by marketing teams to try and make cards look better than they actually are. For its latest RDNA 2 cards, AMD has offered more VRAM than Nvidia at similar price points, but until games actually make proper use of more memory, there’s no real benefit to show for it. 

What is potentially more beneficial is a bump in the memory bandwidth on offer. By upping the VRAM of the RTX 3080 to 12GB, Nvidia would have to use a 384-bit memory bus as opposed to the 320-bit bus found on the original version. That’s more bandwidth and potentially better performance right there, although memory speed obviously plays a role here as well.

All of these rumours point to a January 2022 release date, so we’ll probably have to wait until then to see what Nvidia actually has planned. Right now, it appears to have as many as five new GPUs on the way—ranging from the mighty RTX 3090 Ti down to the lowly RTX 3050, with room for a return of the RTX 2060 as well. Oh, and maybe some RTX 30-series Super cards? Oh boy.

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