It appears that NVIDIA is once again planning to steal AMD’s thunder by launching the Ampere based RTX 3080 and 3090 (not certain) graphics cards right alongside the Navi 2x lineup in September/October. This info comes from Igor’s lab who explains how a new generation of GPUs undergo testing and how long the process takes, before the final launch.
|Bill Of Materials Release
|Engineering Validation Test
|Design Validation Test
|June / July
|Electromagnetic Interference Test
|Mid or End of July
|Production Validation Test
|End of July to beginning of August
|Beginning of August
|Meals the final source BIOS
|Beginning of august
|Ramp & MP
|Start of mass production (FE)
|Media Event and first Benchmarks
The recent heatsink design that was leaked was actually one of the three designs pitched for the final retail samples. What this means is that those leaks may turn out to be inconsequential as NVIDIA might reject that particular design and opt for a different one.
This part where NVIDIA looks at heatsink design options is known as the design validation stage. Usually, the final launch happens 2-3 months after the design validation is done. Assuming that the design is validated in June or July, that puts the launch date just around the beginning of Q4, same as the Ryzen 4000 and Navi 2x GPUs.
This makes sense as historically NVIDIA and AMD have launched new generations in the same month (sometimes even in the same week). We saw it happen with the 1st Gen Navi and RTX Supers and several times before that as well. It’ll be interesting to see if AMD’s much anticipated Big Navi GPU manages to beat the RTX 3080 and if it does, how NVIDIA responds to it. Till now, NVIDIA has always held the performance crown, usually by offering a Ti variant of the top-end x80 GPU. AMD, on the other hand, has offered notably cheaper graphic cards that perform within 90-95% of the rival GeForce parts, keeping the prices in check, and thereby giving enthusiasts ample options to choose from.