WTF?! Do you love Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme (RTX) or do you still yearn for the days of Giga Texel Shader eXtreme (GTX)? It turns out there's a way you can have both, kind of: the GTX 2080, a prototype 20-series card that carried the old GTX branding. A Reddit user just bought one of these rare models off eBay, and it's certainly an interesting find.
Redditor ascendance22 (via Tom's Hardware) posted details about their purchased GTX 2080, which looks and performs almost identically to the RTX-branded version. The big visual difference is the lack of the 2080 logo and the "GEFORCE GTX" printed on the side.
The eBay merchant offering these cards is selling them for $360. They were used for mining, so you might want to bear that in mind if you buy one for novelty value.
ascendance22 posted a GPU-Z screen grab showing the system recognizing the card as an RTX 2080 with the same TU104 GPU and specs as that card. But the prototype does differ from the regular RTX 2080 in that Nvidia has disabled the RT cores. The 3DMark TimeSpy results also match the RTX version.
In 2018, there were lots of rumors that Nvidia was planning to launch a GTX 1180 card—this was before we knew about Nvidia switching to the RTX name. The GTX 2080 could have been a planned GTX xx80 model that never came to fruition, offering Turing architecture in a GTX card beyond the lower-end GTX 16xx series.
You might remember that when the RTX line first arrived, most people didn't find ray tracing the compelling feature that Nvidia claimed (many still don't), especially as it crushes performance. And while DLSS has improved drastically over the years to become an incredibly popular option among gamers, its initial implementation left plenty to be desired. Moreover, these RTX-designed features didn't have much support from game developers at the time.
It's theorized that the GTX 2080 could have been a way of offering the more powerful Turning architecture in a high-end card to consumers without the RTX cores enabled, making it a cheaper option for those who didn't care about their associated features.