Nvidia has just revealed its new RTX 30 line of graphics cards, based on its much-anticipated Ampere architecture.
First launched in May for supercomputers and hyperscale data centers, Ampere represents the second-generation of Nvidia’s RTX architecture.
Nvidia is promising that the Ampere-based RTX 30 video cards will deliver up to two times the performance and 1.9 times the power efficiency of its predecessors, delivering what Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has called the “greatest generational leap in company history.”
“If the last 20 years was amazing, the next 20 will seem like nothing short of science fiction,” Huang said at the official launch event.
The RTX 30 lineup will consist of three distinct cards: the RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090—the last one representing a new, “ferocious” tier of cards, being the first time Nvidia has released a card with 90 in its name.
The first of these cards to launch will be the “flagship” RTX 3080, which hits September 17 with an SRP of $699 (Php 34,000). The RTX 3090 will follow on September 24 and will come with a whopping $1,499 (Php 73,000) SRP.
The “entry-level” RTX 3070, on the other hand, will be the last to arrive, coming sometime in October with an SRP of $499 (Php 24,000).
Each of these cards represents a step up from the previous RTX 20 series. Even the RTX 3070 outperforms the previous top-of-the-line RTX 2080 Ti on paper with 5,888 CUDA cores vs. 4,352, a 1.73Ghz boost clock vs. 1,545MHz, a single-precision performance of 20.4 TFLOPS vs 13.4 TFLOPs and a Tensor performance of 133 TFLOPs vs 114TFLOPs. All while being priced much lower than the 2080 Ti with its $999 (Php 48,500) retail price.
RTX 20 to move downmarket? But what about Big Navi
Noticeably lacking from Nvidia’s lineup for the RTX 30 are any lower mid-range offerings—no RTX 2060 this time. This shouldn’t be surprising as Nvidia has been continually moving their latest cards upmarket—when the first-gen RTX 20 series launched, it didn’t release a RTX 2050, despite the preceding GTX 10 series having a GTX 1050 offering.
Nvidia’s strategy seems to be to use its older series of cards to cover the mid- and low-range segments of the market. With this in mind, it’s likely that the previous RTX 20 series cards will see a drop in price, both in retail and in the second-hand market.
It’s here that a chink in Nvidia’s armor may be found. While the company has generally led the way in the graphics card market, rival AMD has made great strides in the low- and mid-range segments. More importantly, much excitement has come from AMD’s upcoming line of cards, codenamed “Big Navi.”
Powered by AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture—the same architecture powering the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X next-gen consoles—all signs point to Big Navi being able to match, or even surpass Nvidia’s RTX 20 series.
If Big Navi does live up to the hype, and should the cards be priced competitively, then AMD could stand to take an even bigger chunk of the mid-range market than it already had.
Last year, AMD beat out Nvidia in graphics card shipments for the first time in five years. While Nvidia is still king of the upper end of the market, AMD’s gains raise the question of whether Nvidia can continue on its current path, focusing mostly on the upper end of the market, or if whether it’ll have to refocus on the mid- and low-range markets in the future.