It has been a hot minute since Nvidia initially revealed and subsequently released the GeForce RTX 20 series of graphics cards. The cards boasted minor improvements in overall performance while also touting the ability to allow real-time ray tracing in games as well as other AI-enhanced features like Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and, later down the line, RTX voice. This line was not without its problems, unfortunately, with the first wave being plagued with memory artifacting issues and the issue of there being literally no use for RTX for pretty much two months following the line’s release. Nvidia seemed to have come a long way in that department, as every rumour regarding the next line of GPUs from the company claimed that there would be significant gains in performance, essentially eclipsing the current generation of cards. The craziest part? The rumours turned out to be somewhat true.
Nvidia has just unveiled the next generation of graphics cards from team green, the RTX 30 series. There are a number of changes that have been made at an architectural level, ranging from CUDA core count to lithography. Currently, the RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 are the only cards announced in this new product stack, with Nvidia claiming to marginally beaten the previous flagshio card (the 2080 Ti) with the 3070 alone.
|Model||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (for comparison)||GeForce RTX 3070||GeForce RTX 3080||GeForce RTX 3090|
|VRAM||11 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6||10 GB GDDR6X||24 GB GDDR6X|
|Boost Clock||1.54 GHz||1.73 GHz||1.71 GHz||1.7 GHz|
|Memory Interface Width||352-bit||256-bit||320-bit||384-bit|
|Process (nm)||TSMC 12nm FinFET||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N|
|Starting Price||$1,899 AUD||$809 AUD||$1,139 AUD||$2,429 AUD|
|Release Date||September 17, 2018||October 2020||September 17, 2020||September 24, 2020|
As you can clearly see, Nvidia isn’t messing around with this line of graphics cards, and two of them aren’t absurdly priced for what they are. Not only are these specs and prices impressive, but they are also a decisive blow to the next-gen consoles which are right around the corner (still don’t have prices for those, by the way). What’s even more interesting with this reveal is how little Nvidia paid attention to the Turing architecture (20 series), instead wanting to make sure that it separated from the Pascal architecture’s flagship, the 1080 Ti.
It’s also worth noting that Nvidia claims the flagship 3090 is able to play games at 8K 60FPS (with DLSS enabled) which will be an impressive feat if it is true, but games don’t have uniformed performance so it would probably be a case-by-case thing.
Other tidbits of info from Nvidia’s reveal include:
- Smaller PCB and new cooler design which will push air through the heatsink and towards the CPU cooler, this isn’t anything new but it has been a little while since we’ve seen something like this because backplates mitigate this
- Significant improvements to ray-tracing with another marble demo. All the lighting was done through path tracing, with everything done in real time. No rasterisation, no prebaking, all an actual demo.
- RTX voice has been rolled into Nvidia Broadcast, which boasts the features already known and used for audio, but also allows streamers and content creators to utilise a green screening effect without actually having a green screen. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s still really cool to see.
What makes this such a decisive blow against the consoles is not the price, or even the graphical improvements/performance. The biggest blow is the fact that the Ampere cards have the ability to directly decompress data from an attached SSD, similar to the way the PS5 handles it (seemingly). This lowers CPU utilisation and increases throughput, allowing for even faster load times and so you may finally see some gains from that NVMe SSD you bought.
This is all fantastic news and a bit of a punch to the gut for anyone who purchased 20 series card recently. The first 30 series card to release is the RTX 3070 which is releasing on Septemeber 17, 2020.