Nvidia‘s latest and greatest in graphics technology, the RTX 3000 series cards released last year to great reviews. As expected, this generation of cards has provided significant gains to the ray-tracing experience to users, which is considered to be the bleeding edge of PC/Console graphics.
While the cards may be the best gaming-oriented Nvidia GPUs that money can buy, the hardware shortages have seemed to hit consumers hard, especially those who were waiting out on their release for an upgrade. That being said, the still unreleased RTX 3080Ti seems to have been hit the worst by the shortages.
For the uninitiated, there has been a global shortage of GPUs for quite some time now and is expected to remain up to at least Q1 2021. The key reason for this shortage is the decrease in the manufacture of these cards and the required parts, primarily due to the shutdown of factories during the spread of COVID-19 in China. In addition to this, PC gaming saw a huge increase in the number of players last year. Steam reached its highest concurrent users during the lockdown and has sold around 20% more games than before. Both AMD and Nvidia’s representatives have stated that their supply isn’t on par with the demand, and will continue to be so moving forward in 2021 for some time.
The two flagships of this generation of graphics card are the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3080. While it isn’t as straightforward as such, the RTX 3080 is just a cutout version of the RTX 3090 with proportionately less memory size and bandwidth. The RTX 3080Ti is also going to be very similar to these two cards, which is to be expected. Recently, a reputable Nvidia source by the name of kopite7kimi has revealed that the earlier version of RTX 3080Ti is scrapped for a cut down version. The card’s CUDA core configuration has been changed down from 10498 to 10240, along with a memory decrease from 20GB GDRR6X to 12GB GDDR6X.
This cut-down may not sound much to some, but PC enthusiasts would acknowledge that this change of specs is alarming, but not surprising. GDDR6 memory shortages aren’t exactly new, and it makes more sense for Nvidia to put as many resources into a card that has already been announced and has thousands of orders lined up rather than one that isn’t available yet. While Nvidia hasn’t officially commented on the situation, the card has now been delayed indefinitely which is probably in light of the aforementioned shortages.
As sad as it may sound, this seems to be the only option. Getting an RTX 3090 or RTX 3090 is a daunting task for now, and from the look of things, it will continue to be so for some time. The situation seems to be a tad bit better for RTX 3060Ti and RTX 3070, but nothing substantial. The best option seems to be to wait for the supply shortages to resolve before investing in a card.
However, should players need to buy a graphics card immediately, they should look for used last-gen cards that can be picked easily for a much lower price. While the performance may not be on par, something along the lines of RTX 2060 should serve players with a decent ray tracing experience provided they game at 1080p with a target framerate of 60.