The RTX 30 series, comprised of the RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 GPUs, may just be the biggest technology topic of the week, and with NVIDIA promising some major advances in the capacity of these cards, there are of course some burning questions that prospective buyers want a answer. NVIDIA has taken the time to answer some of these questions, giving us a better idea of what it will take to use these cards and why NVIDIA made some of the design choices it made with this new series.
The questions and their answers were posted on an AMA recap topic on the official NVIDIA subreddit. The first question in that topic – “Why only 10 GB of memory for the RTX 3080?” – it’s one that many people probably want an answer to, especially since the 30 series motherboard, the RTX 3090, has an incredible 24 GB of memory.
This is a very big loophole, but apparently, there are only 10 GB in the RTX 3080 because of what NVIDIA set out to accomplish with the card. “The goal of the 3080 is to deliver great performance at up to 4k resolution with all configurations maximized at the best possible price,” said Justin Walker of NVIDIA.
He explained that in several games, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Metro Exodus, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Gears of War 5, NVIDIA was able to achieve frame rates of 60-100 fps with maximum graphics settings , 4K resolution and RTX enabled in compatible games. Despite these high settings, each game used only between 4 GB and 6 GB of memory, so it appears that 10 GB of memory was determined to be sufficient to play in 4K at maximum settings.
“It’s always good to have extra memory, but it would increase the price of the video card, so we need to find the right balance,” concluded Walker. In fact, although the RTX 3090 has 24 GB of memory, it is also a $ 1,500 card. The RTX 3080, on the other hand, closed at $ 700 and, while it is still very expensive, it is less than half the cost of the 3090.
In another part of this discussion, NVIDIA’s Qi Lin confirms that the 30 series cards will indeed support 10-bit HDR. “In fact,” Lin continued, “HDMI 2.1 can support up to 8 K @ 60 Hz with 12-bit HDR and that covers 10-bit HDR monitors.”
We also learned what kind of performance downgrade owners can expect if they use these cards with PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0. “System performance is affected by many factors and the impact varies between applications,” said Seth Schneider of NVIDIA. “The impact is usually less than a few percent going from an x16 PCIE 4.0 to an x16 PCIE 3.0. CPU selection generally has a greater impact on performance. We look forward to new platforms that can take full advantage of Gen4’s capabilities for potential performance increases. “
So, if you are planning to stick with PCIe 3.0 in the near future, it looks like you will not see major performance downgrades. If you are planning to buy a 30 series RTX card, it is worth reading the entire AMA as it covers many different topics. We will undoubtedly learn more about the RTX 30 series in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for more information.