Nvidia limited the RTX 2080 Super’s memory performance

Samsung reveals their GDDR6 memory portfolio

Nvidia limited the RTX 2080 Super’s memory performance, here’s why

Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Super has been released today (Read our RTX 2080 Super Review here), but with this release comes a revelation. This revelation comes in the form of the RTX 2080 Super’s memory performance, which is lower than it could be, at least according to Samsung’s GDDR6 memory model numbers. 

Yes, Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Super may have its memory running at 15.5 Gbps, but the Samsung modules within the GPU are designed to run at higher speeds. To be precise, these GDDR6 memory modules are designed to run at 16 Gbps, which means that Nvidia is running these modules in an underclocked state. 

If Nvidia ran their RTX 2080 Super at its GDDR6 memory’s rated clock speed, the graphics card would offer users over 512GB/s of memory performance, amounting to a memory bandwidth uplift of slightly more than 3%. This raises a question, why didn’t Nvidia run its RTX 2080 Super at Samsungs rated memory speed? 

According to Nvidia, as stated by Anandtech, the RTX Super series of graphics cards were designed t be as easy to manufacture as possible, utilising the same basic Turing Silicon as existing RTX series graphics cards alongside similar cooler designs and identical PCB layouts. The RTX Super series is a Turing refresh. Simply put, Nvidia didn’t want to push memory speeds too high for manufacturing reasons. 

Nvidia’s original RTX series graphics cards offered GDDR6 memory with maximum speeds of 14Gbps. Nvidia’s PCB designs are rated for this level of performance, and full 16Gbps memory speeds would require a PCB redesign. Nvidia limited the RTX 2080 Super to 15.5 Gbps memory speeds so that they, and their AIB partners, didn’t need to design new PCBs for their RTX 2080 Super. Why design a new PCB for a single graphics SKU as part of a GPU refresh? 

The upside to this is that most RTX 2080 Super graphics cards will be able to overclock to 16Gbps memory speeds with ease, as the memory is rated to run at those speeds. While Nvidia’s PCB designs are not designed with such high levels of memory performance in mind, most end-users should be able to find stability if they crank their RTX 2080 Super’s GDDR6 memory to 16Gbps.  

Nvidia Founders Edition Graphics  Geforce RTX 2080 Ti FE Geforce 
RTX 2080 Super
Geforce RTX 2080 FE Geforce 
RTX 2070 Super
Geforce RTX 2070 FE
RTX 2060 Super 
Geforce RTX 2060 FE
Architecture Turing Turing Turing Turing  Turing Turing  Turing
CUDA Cores 4,352 3072 2944 2560  2304 2176  1920
Base Clock
1350MHz 1650MHz 1510MHz 1605MHz 1410MHz 1470MHz  1345MHz
Boost Clock 1635MHz 1815MHz 1800MHz 1770MHz  1710MHz 1650MHz  1680MHz
Memory Capacity 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB  8GB 8GB  6GB
Memory Speed 14Gbps 15.5Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps  14Gbps 14Gbps  14Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 616GB/s 496GB/s 448GB/s 448GB/s  448GB/s 448GB/s  336GB/s
Memory Bus Size 352-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit  256-bit  256-bit 192-bit
Via NVLink  N/A N/A  N/A
US Pricing $1199 $699 $799 $499 $599 $429 $349
UK pricing £1099 £669 £749 £475 £569 £379 £329

Nvidia limited the RTX 2080 Super's memory performance  

On a positive note, this launch confirms that Samsung is producing 16Gbps GDDR6 memory modules in large enough quantities for a major graphics cards launch. This is great news for the future generation of both Radeon and Nvidia graphics. Samsung has already announced 18Gbps GDDR6 memory modules, but until now, only 14Gbps chips have been used within the GPU market. Perhaps we will see Nvidia release their next-generation of graphics cards with all 16Gbps GDDR6, or faster, memory solutions. 

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