We recently reported on a rumor on the potential RTX 3090 next-gen replacement, but today we have some news on something more practical, which is the upcoming SUPER refreshes of the Ampere gaming GPUs.
- RTX 3090 SUPER – 10752 CUDA Cores/ 24GB VRAM/ GDDR6X
- RTX 3080 SUPER – 8960 CUDA Cores/ 12GB VRAM/ GDDR6X
- RTX 3070 SUPER – 5888 CUDA Cores/ 8GB VRAM/ GDDR6X
- RTX 3060 SUPER – 5632 CUDA Cores/ 12GB VRAM/ GDDR6
Before we break it down into something that makes more sense, we will briefly discuss Nvidia’s SUPER line-up. The RTX 2000 series cards were the first to receive SUPER refreshes, and these are meant to replace the older cards in a way, coming in at the same retail price as the non-SUPER cards at launch. Obviously, anyone who follows the hardware space knows this doesn’t end up happening, and instead, older cards are discounted by the retailers to keep them a viable option.
Let’s get the specifications of these graphics cards out of the way first. The RTX 2060 SUPER saw a significant bump in specs “effectively” replacing the old RTX 2070. It is based on the TU 106 GPU same as the RTX 2070. RTX 2060 SUPER now has 34 SMs instead of 30 which means a total of 2,176 CUDA cores clocked at 1470 MHz. It now has the same memory that the RTX 2070 has which means an 8GB GDDR6 module with a bus size of 256-bit with a speed of 14Gbps
The rumored specifications for the upcoming SUPER refreshes seem to suggest a similar approach to the previous releases, which is to provide a mid-generation performance uplift at the same retail price. However the Ti versions are meant for significant uplifts, which actually occupy a higher tier.
This hierarchy will continue with the Ampere cards, with the SUPER variant coming in between the base and the Ti model. Slight exception with the RTX 3060, as allegedly the 3060 SUPER will be faster than its Ti variant. This shows Nvidia isn’t very strict with the naming, and the releases are based more on market conditions and competitor offerings.
The RTX 3070 SUPER is interesting because compared to the last-gen SUPER card, the change this time looks minuscule on paper. It has the same amount of CUDA cores and VRAM as the base RTX 3070. However, Nvidia has armed it with GDDR6X memory instead of GDDR6, which is probably where the performance uplift lies. GDDR6X is more efficient and consumes less power, giving Nvidia more headroom to increase power draw and squeeze some performance. The use of GDDR6X will also give the 3070 SUPER more bandwidth, and this too can be used to push the card further. Nvidia also seems to have learned some lessons from the RTX 2000 series where some refreshes made the higher tier cards look bad, as in the case of the RTX 2070 SUPER and the RTX 2080.
Nvidia is keen to not repeat it, and the rumored specs point at a clear performance distinction between these cards. Unlike the 3070S, the RTX 3080 SUPER has a noticeable spec bump, primarily in the form of more VRAM (12GB from 10GB) and also more CUDA cores.
The RTX 3090 SUPER probably won’t change much, with the rumors suggesting a minor shader count increase and with that an SKU change. It is already a powerful card, and further performance uplifts will be limited even from refreshes. Therefore if the rumor turns out to be accurate, the 3090 SUPER’s success will largely depend on Nvidia’s pricing.
As for a potential release date, nothing is concrete yet, but broadly rumors suggest an early 2022 launch. Again, take the information above as speculation at this point, till there is more information, which is usually closer to launch.