Nvidia doesn't need us anymore: How is the GeForce RTX 3080 12GB launching to zero reviews

Steve

Posts: 2,794   +2,854
Staff member
Cutting corners: Get this right, Nvidia is releasing a new graphics card today. Sort of new. Upgraded might be a better term, but there is a new version of the RTX 3080 hitting shelves today. Now, for those who've been trying to purchase an RTX 3080 for the past two years at anything resembling a reasonable price, will probably raise an eyebrow at yet another new product using the same GA102 silicon -- especially a more expensive product -- and while that’s somewhat of an issue, it’s the least of our concerns.

The "new" GeForce RTX 3080 12GB is launching today, but you’re unlikely to find a single review of it anywhere informing you in regards to how it performs. This is because Nvidia has deliberately blocked all day-one reviews. It’s hard to say why, and as far as we can tell it makes very little sense, though we do have a theory.

But before I get to that, let's rewind a little bit...

About 4 weeks ago, the first AIB partners started to reach out informing us of multiple product releases in January, one of which was a new version of the RTX 3080 with 12GB of VRAM. At the time, I was presented with a typical NDA to sign which would ensure we were provided with a sample prior to the public release, so we could test and let you know ahead of time what the product was all about. Standard stuff there.

Of course, I signed the NDA because it in no way prohibits us from crapping all over the product if necessary, and you've seen us do that to countless products from multiple brands over the years. Now, I was told at the time that we'd have samples in hand about a week before the product release. Again, that’s pretty standard, in fact a week is often a best-case scenario.

MSI managed to get us their massive Suprim X card a week ago, and so we were on track to deliver a detailed review today. After spending three back-to-back days of pure benchmarking to update our results for previously released products, I reached out to Nvidia on January 5 to find out when the review driver would become available.

I was promptly told they'd get back to me with that info.

Two days later, we heard nothing and it was now Friday, January 7th, only 4 days to go before the release if you include the weekend. I reached out again and at that point Nvidia informed me that there wouldn’t be a review driver, instead reviewers would have to wait until the product was released to the public, at which point they could download the public release driver and use that.

This means no day-one reviews, and it’s likely going to be a few days before the first detailed reviews appear online. This caught us and Nvidia’s partners completely off guard as we were all expecting to provide you with day-one content. For me personally this isn’t an issue. Deadlines suck, and frankly I enjoyed getting to spend the weekend with my family opposed to working long hours on an RTX 3080 12GB review. In that sense, I’m not at all upset. But I am annoyed at how unnecessary and dodgy this move is.

It’s worth noting that without a supporting driver, it’s impossible to test the graphics card. Existing drivers won’t work, at least not without modification, which for a new GPU configuration is likely a complex process. For Nvidia, on the other hand, it’s easy to provide the driver ahead of time and this is standard practice for getting their new products tested and reviewed by the launch date.

Truth is, the RTX 3080 12GB won't bring us any surprises. It has a few extra cores and some extra memory bandwidth / capacity, which in terms of performance should land it between the original RTX 3080 and the RTX 3080 Ti. So why the Nvidia shenanigans then?

We believe the reason is Nvidia anticipated this release will receive mostly negative feedback from reviewers, especially those that were hard on the pointless 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti -- which was most credible reviewers. Now, you might be thinking, "come on, as if Nvidia cares right now... they can literally release anything and gamers/scalpers/miners will snap it up in a heartbeat," and while the latter is true, I believe Nvidia does care.

It’s been my experience over the last decade that Nvidia is extremely sensitive to criticism, and this has become particularly evident since the release of Turing (a.k.a. RTX 20 series). A flood of mostly negative GeForce reviews hitting the net at the same time is something Nvidia wishes to avoid, even in the current market.

But why might RTX 3080 12GB reviews be negative? Keep in mind that as this opinion column goes live (video here), I’ve yet to actually use or test the card, even though I’ve had on hand for a week now.

It all boils down to pricing and availability.

The original GeForce RTX 3080 was released in September 2020 and was set to be the best GeForce release in years (we gave it a 90/100 score), but it's ended up being a huge disappointment due to poor availability and sky high prices. With loyal fans literally lined up to get their hands on one, Nvidia has done nothing substantial to help them out over the past 2 years.

Don’t even bother telling me about LHR cards or direct sales, both of which have accounted to little more than marketing stunts. The fact that Nvidia has continued to segment the GA102 lineup with higher margin parts, while mostly abandoning the RTX 3080 says it all, and the 12GB model is a continuation of this.

Rather than increasing supply of the more affordable RTX 3080, which might help to drive prices down eventually, Nvidia predictably went the other way by making a more expensive RTX 3080, after of course, making an even more expensive RTX 3080 Ti.

In other words, the 12GB RTX 3080 release is no different than the RTX 3080 Ti. Nvidia is simply looking to maximize profits, but now they want to have their cake and eat it, too, and by that I mean they want to screw over their customers are much as the market will allow while receiving as little blow back from media as possible.

Like the RTX 3080 Ti, the 12GB 3080 is a price reset for GA102. Charging $700 for the RTX 3080's silicon was a mistake as far as Nvidia is concerned, and bumping the MSRP by just over 70% for the 3080 Ti was the first step in correcting that mistake.

Recently, they quietly revived the RTX 2060 with a 12GB model. Again, no reviews, and perhaps more concerning, no MSRP, allowing Nvidia to dynamically adjust pricing based on what the market will bare. I hate to say it, but I think they’re going with the same plan for the 12GB 3080.

When asked just days before the release, what the expected MSRP would be, Nvidia promptly replied with "We don't have anything to announce at this time." Suggesting to me that we might not get an MSRP at all, or best case it’s going to be $1,000+.

At this point, it's obvious that these companies don’t care about gamers, or more specifically their customers. Whether it's Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, they never have, they just care about profits -- shocker, I know -- but the way some people behave, defending the likes of Nvidia at every turn, you’d think these companies exist only to please them.

Nvidia deserves all the negative press that should come their way over this move to delay and even suppress reviews. At the end of the day, it’s dodgy and anti-consumer, and maybe also arrogant. But I’m sure by trying to minimize media coverage they’ve only amplified negative coverage.

I should also make it clear that Nvidia is okay with reviews. They’ve allowed their partners to sample the card, but they specifically only want those reviews out after consumers can buy them. They are not blocking reviews entirely; they want to delay the content until after their own announcement and release to control the story, while also making it seem like they're playing nice with reviewers.

Additionally, I should note that we don’t believe reviewers deserve pre-release access to products, and for many other companies there are no pre-release reviews. But it's specifically the change in process for this product that is dodgy. Customers are used to reviews before or on the release date, and that process is being deliberately altered just for this product to stop that from happening.

We’ve done our bit by bringing this story to light, now it’s on you guys, the enthusiast community to push back. Of course, we’ll also have a detailed review in a few days' time, so be on the lookout for that.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,667   +6,451
"At this point, it's obvious that these companies don’t care about gamers, or more specifically their customers. Whether it's Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, they never have, they just care about profits"

"In other words, the 12GB RTX 3080 release is no different than the RTX 3080 Ti. Nvidia is simply looking to maximize profits"


"Profits" are a result of the "free market" choosing a product because it is made either so well - or offers so many benefits over "other products" (AMD cards) that the company is able to not only earn revenue but able to exceed revue with said profits.

I choose NVIDIA because I love their product.
I invest in their stock, because I love their product and I know others will choose their product whether they be gamers or crypto miners - who themselves - as much as I despise them - choose Nvidia because they know the product is superior for their needs.

Nvidia's job, as a company and to its shareholders (me) is to maximize profit by continuing to make a superior product.

And that's how the market works.

The same goes for apple, google, amazon, microsoft, taco bell, walmart, etc,etc...

The Free market is always right.
 

fadingfool

Posts: 248   +312
Profits are also a reflection of supply and demand - by deliberately limiting supply you can drive up the price and make more profit per unit. This is not an example of a free market at work but of deliberate market manipulation. The "free market" may always be right but this market is not a free one.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,540   +3,027
I called it a few months ago: It's not "only" miners either (Although those are healthy sales for them still) but the compute customers for data centers are quickly becoming the center of their concerns because they're making money by the truck loads working with them so why would Nvidia want to keep investing so much money on gaming marketing when scarcity means they sell themselves with ease? Situation has been going long enough that I am almost sure they decided to cut back on the marketing budget for consumers at least until something else dries out but at this point it's not: I think they're getting ready to fully transition to become a "Cloud infrastructure provider" type company with consumer products being an afterthought: in the future they might even release some of their GPUs as just "rent out compute power for our cloud service" type deal without pushing primarily hardware sales to consumers anymore or at least not with the same level of urgency.

And to the people who will inevitably comment "Eth has crashed and/or things are normalizing now" I am going to remain skeptical: Eth has recovered so many times before and the response to Omni is so appallingly bad right now I don't believe 2022 will be the year supply finally goes "back to normal" if anything, 2021 was the new normal.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 26   +53
What Nvidia is doing should not be a surprise anymore. If you were caught on tape that should be a final warning sign to treat Nvidia as they deserve, I mean like the blackmailer who in fact they are. You treat Nvidia too nicely after they embargoed and blackmailed you last year. Hope that in 2022 you will be more judicial against any Nvidia shady attempt. They prove it countless time that they are not playing fair or nice. Wish you good luck and to give us high quality reviews.
 
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maxxcool7421

Posts: 84   +143
"At this point, it's obvious that these companies don’t care about gamers, or more specifically their customers. Whether it's Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, they never have, they just care about profits"

"In other words, the 12GB RTX 3080 release is no different than the RTX 3080 Ti. Nvidia is simply looking to maximize profits"


"Profits" are a result of the "free market" choosing a product because it is made either so well - or offers so many benefits over "other products" (AMD cards) that the company is able to not only earn revenue but able to exceed revue with said profits.

I choose NVIDIA because I love their product.
I invest in their stock, because I love their product and I know others will choose their product whether they be gamers or crypto miners - who themselves - as much as I despise them - choose Nvidia because they know the product is superior for their needs.

Nvidia's job, as a company and to its shareholders (me) is to maximize profit by continuing to make a superior product.

And that's how the market works.

The same goes for apple, google, amazon, microsoft, taco bell, walmart, etc,etc...

The Free market is always right.

Spoken like a miner ...

 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 645   +1,139
You won't find a review on the 3080 12GB version because you're going to see a performance gain over the 3080 10GB, just like we did with the 2060 12GB over the 2060 6GB - almost non-existent.

Maybe 3% performance gain for an extra $350+ price over a 3080 10GB.

No thank you, Nvidia. I don't know why anyone would want to spend an extra $100 per 1% performance gain over the 3080 10GB.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 26   +53
Profits are also a reflection of supply and demand - by deliberately limiting supply you can drive up the price and make more profit per unit. This is not an example of a free market at work but of deliberate market manipulation. The "free market" may always be right but this market is not a free one.
Some people has difficulties or they may not understand the concept of free market at all.
 
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R00sT3R

Posts: 561   +1,674
You won't find a review on the 3080 12GB version because you're going to see a performance gain over the 3080 10GB, just like we did with the 2060 12GB over the 2060 6GB - almost non-existent.

Maybe 3% performance gain for an extra $350+ price over a 3080 10GB.

No thank you, Nvidia. I don't know why anyone would want to spend an extra $100 per 1% performance gain over the 3080 10GB.

Well, the 10GB 3080 has gone EOL, so if you want a 3080, once any pre existing manufactured stock of the 10GB version have been sold, the only choice will be the 12GB card...at the new higher MSRP.
 

JamesBlond

Posts: 165   +117
The only thing Nvidia has been good for since 2017 is mining, the costs of everything else is too much.. buy a card, play games when you want, mine when your not and never pay again for an upgrade, that is all they are good for...too full of shirt
 

nnguy2

Posts: 352   +728
Nvidia screwing the customers?
giphy.gif
 

dirtyferret

Posts: 711   +928
At this point, it's obvious that these companies don’t care about gamers, or more specifically their customers.

While I appreciate the article and it's true Nvidia does not care about the former (neither does AMD or Intel), they 100% care about the latter (as does AMD and Intel). It's just the that gamers have a false belief that they are the actual customers (they are not) when gamers are one avenue by which these companies create profit for their customers.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,961   +5,478
The Free market is always right.
Bullcrap. In this case, as I see it, it is nWeedia taking advantage of the market situation to squeeze as much profits out of their customers as they believe they can. Profits are all they care about.

Back in the days of Compaq, Compaq did the same thing that nWeedia is doing right now, and Compaq, as a highly respected stand-alone brand that was widely recognized at the time as producing an excellent product, let their own brand recognition go to their heads. Compaq's prices were astronomical compared to alternatives on the market at the time, and the lower priced alternatives, including custom builds, were the choice that consumers turned to at the time. The result? Ask yourself, where is Compaq now? The answer is that it is a sub-brand of a company, HP, I think, that decided to buy it when it could not live up to its own Hubris, and it is hardly the "go to" brand it once used to be.

And again, just because you own nWeedia cards does not mean that those same cards are the "go to" choice for everyone. IF prices were reasonable, I might buy one of these new cards, but, IMO, they are just not worth spending what it would cost for most of the components of a decent build on a GPU for that system. I am not interested in purchasing bragging rights or purchasing just because some reviewer somewhere says "its the best".

My bet, give it some more time, especially when nWeedia makes paper releases like this that it specifically holds back in all likelihood because it is totally afraid of negative reviews, and nWeedia will be the Compaq of the 2020s. And the "Free Market" will have spoken.

I worked for a company that had 60,000+ employees and was recognized world-wide. IMO, they suffered from the same kind of Hubris as this, and I clearly saw that hubris while working there; they are now only a shadow of their former glory with around 1,200 employees.
 

fadingfool

Posts: 248   +312
Some people has difficulties or they may not understand the concept of free market at all.
For a free market economy to operate as a free market you require free competition. Without free competition you end up with monopolies and cartels. These entities control the market to the point where free competition will be snuffed out at the nascent stage - such as buying up all the production capacity etc. This is not a free market - it is a controlled market by the only significant players.
 

maroon1

Posts: 95   +120
AMD fans were screaming for years about how important the memory and 10GB on 3080 and 6GB on RTX 2060 is not enough

They released 12GB version for both cards and it barely make any difference on average. So in other words, the original memory size was enough for these cards
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,013   +6,818
"At this point, it's obvious that these companies don’t care about gamers, or more specifically their customers. Whether it's Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, they never have, they just care about profits"

"In other words, the 12GB RTX 3080 release is no different than the RTX 3080 Ti. Nvidia is simply looking to maximize profits"


"Profits" are a result of the "free market" choosing a product because it is made either so well - or offers so many benefits over "other products" (AMD cards) that the company is able to not only earn revenue but able to exceed revue with said profits.

I choose NVIDIA because I love their product.
I invest in their stock, because I love their product and I know others will choose their product whether they be gamers or crypto miners - who themselves - as much as I despise them - choose Nvidia because they know the product is superior for their needs.

Nvidia's job, as a company and to its shareholders (me) is to maximize profit by continuing to make a superior product.

And that's how the market works.

The same goes for apple, google, amazon, microsoft, taco bell, walmart, etc,etc...

The Free market is always right.
Do you have this speech on file and saved somewhere? Because it's getting pretty damned repetitive, tedious, and boring.

I can hear you thinking to yourself, "hm, another article about high prices, and scarce availability, time for the big copy and paste about the 'free market always being right'".

BTW, how are your "two 3090's" running? I'm sure "inquiring minds want to know". (y) (Y) .
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 6,961   +5,478
I think they're getting ready to fully transition to become a "Cloud infrastructure provider" type company with consumer products being an afterthought: in the future they might even release some of their GPUs as just "rent out compute power for our cloud service" type deal without pushing primarily hardware sales to consumers anymore or at least not with the same level of urgency.
They have already started doing that - nWeedia Now.
 

Achaios

Posts: 274   +774
Profits are also a reflection of supply and demand - by deliberately limiting supply you can drive up the price and make more profit per unit. This is not an example of a free market at work but of deliberate market manipulation. The "free market" may always be right but this market is not a free one.

That must'a hurt.

My condolences to the NVIDIA Shareholder Club Card Holder whom it demolished.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,961   +5,478
While I appreciate the article and it's true Nvidia does not care about the former (neither does AMD or Intel), they 100% care about the latter (as does AMD and Intel). It's just the that gamers have a false belief that they are the actual customers (they are not) when gamers are one avenue by which these companies create profit for their customers.
As I see it, you are correct. The HPC/Compute market is the current cash cow.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,540   +3,027
They have already started doing that - nWeedia Now.
The interesting part is how that interfaces with this release: for Nvidia, the ideal strategy would be that they just have the "3080" brand that's it: no qualifiers or models. The way cloud provisioning works means that as long as they have that expectation as a brand they can provision either lower: 3070 levels of performance for games that just don't require a 3080 to max out the framerate is even possible with video streaming on the service, to possibly even more efficient with 3090/ti or RX class GPUs that use paravirtualization to dynamically assign as much performance as is needed so when someone runs Cyberpunk 2077 then yes dedicate almost all of it but if 4 other customers are just playing Fortnite at the same time you can serve them all with a single 3090 and still sell the service as "3080 experience" if they ever want to launch and play 2077 or Control or some of the really heavy Ray Tracing titles.

So the move to cloud, even if it's not directly through Nvidia and it's just on AWS or Azure or any current or future providers that leverage "cloud based" compute, the idea is that you can save a lot of money while still charging customers a premium subscription to access that "3080" experience of 4k Ray Tracing + Insert-future-buzzword-Nvidia-will-probably-introduce and so on.

This way Nvidia can make a lot of money from customers, more reliably through subscriptions, while serving data centers instead so not really a consumer product anymore