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What makes sense (and what doesn’t) about the RTX 3080 Super rumors

In August, two well-known Twitter leakers shared details on a potential RTX 3090 Super, which may provide a boost to the most powerful GPU Nvidia currently offers. One of those leakers, kopite7kimi, has shared more details about the range, and we could see a refresh to the entire Ampere lineup next year.

This Super range reportedly updates the RTX 3060, RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090. The redesigns are still based on the 8nm architecture and are said to use the GA102 graphics core — the same core available on all released Ampere cards. The top card, the RTX 3090 Super, is said to include the full die with 10,752 CUDA cores, which is a small 2.4% increase over the RTX 3090.

Branding on the RTX 3090.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The RTX 3080 Super could get a similar bump of 2.9%, while the RTX 3070 Super is said to have the same core count as the RTX 3070. The oddball is the RTX 3060. The leaker says the Super version update could come with a 57% increase in core count, moving from 3,584 to 5,632.

However, kopite7kimi says they doubt some of the specs, and I agree. Based on this information, the RTX 3060 Super would be theoretically more powerful than the RTX 3060 Ti, while the RTX 3070 Super would be identical to the RTX 3070, just with GDDR6X memory. The bumps to the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 also seem too small to matter.

It’s not out of character for Nvidia, however. The RTX 2080 Super only offered a 4.3% increase in core count over the RTX 2080, plus a slight bump in clock speed.

The good news is more graphics cards. If Nvidia is working on a Super refresh, that means more opportunities to pick up a card in a time when they’re difficult to find. As the past several GPU launches have shown, though, new products aren’t enough to satisfy the needs of the GPU shortage. If these cards come, they’ll still be hard to find.

The bad news is that the leaked specs don’t say much. Based on core count and memory alone, this Super refresh looks like a way for Nvidia to effectively rebrand most of its range (and provide a needed bump to the RTX 3060). There are a few other critical specs missing, however, including the memory bus size, clock speed, and power draw. Those could change the story.

Right now, I’m not excited for a Super refresh. Below the RTX 3080, Nvidia’s current lineup is tightly grouped at $100 internals down to the RTX 3060 Ti. There’s more room in pricing above that point, but as the RTX 3080 Ti showed, Nvidia isn’t feeling a lot of pressure to meet aggressive price/performance goals.

It’s possible this refresh isn’t targeting the add-in market. A rumor from August suggested RTX Super cards coming to laptops, and HP recently listed the RTX 3080 Super for the upcoming Envy 34 all-in-one PC before removing the reference.

The RTX 30-series Super range is rumored to launch during CES 2022. That time frame makes sense, as the company is rumored to launch its next-gen RTX 40-series cards later in 2022.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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