The Nvidia GeForce RTX 5080 looks to be a couple of years away, as the RTX 4090 is still going strong. Nvidia hasn’t officially announced the card or the next-generation architecture it will be built around, but there are a few key details we’ve gleaned over the last several months.
Whenever it appears, it will have big boots to fill. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 is one of the best graphics cards with its superb performance, ray tracing chops, and vigorous frame rate-boosting DLSS 3. Its hefty $1,199 price tag raised a few eyebrows, but if the RTX 5080 launches with a similar slate of improvements, we could be in for another pricey top-tier card.
Nvidia RTX 5080 release date
Since 2016, Nvidia has launched a new generation of RTX cards every two years, with the latest appearing in 2022. While that would put the 50 series on track for a 2024 release, things look to be shaping up a little differently this time around.
Nvidia’s next-generation GPU architecture is on track to release in 2025, according to a development roadmap that was shared during a press presentation and captured by German site Hardareluxx. That would put it a tad later than expected, but only by a year.
Whenever the 50 series does eventually arrive, however, we can expect the 5080 to be in its starting line-up. Nvidia tends to lead each generation with its higher-tier cards. The RTX 4080 was the first of the 40 series to hit shelves, for instance, followed soon after by the RTX 4090. Similarly, the initial launch of the 30 series consisted of the RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090. There seems little reason this coming generation won’t follow suit.
Nvidia RTX 5080 price
The price of the RTX 5080 is still something of a mystery, not least because of Nvidia’s questionable handling of the last generation of GeForce cards. The RTX 4080 launched for $1,199, an eye-watering $500 bump on the $699 RTX 3080. The price increase was largely explained by significant performance improvements enabled by the integration of DLSS 3 and 16GB of VRAM.
Nvidia had initially planned to roll out a cheaper 12GB version that was priced in line with previous XX80 models. But it pulled out of the launch last year, explaining that “two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing”. Instead, it effectively renamed and reintroduced the card as the RTX 2070 Ti. It launched at a cool $799, which is a good way cheaper than the RTX 4080 but still $100 over the RTX 3080.
Unfortunately, that intergenerational price trend probably isn’t going anywhere. As Nvidia continues to rely on performance gains to justify lofty price increases, a $1000-plus RTX 5080 is in no way out of the question.
The bigger mystery, however, is whether Nvidia will try to launch two versions of the card as it failed to do with its predecessor. Perhaps it’s by now worked out how to do that without confusing customers, and so can justify a second, slightly cheaper RTX 5080 variant.
Nvidia RTX 5080 specs
Though Nvidia still has the RTX 5080 specs locked behind closed doors, the usual slew of leaks and insider rumors has given us an indication of what to expect.
Prolific Nvidia leaker Kopite7kimi tweeted earlier this year that the RTX 5090 will feature a 512-bit memory interface – one metric that determines a GPU’s total memory capacity and throughput. That would put it cleanly above the 384-bit ceiling of previous RTX cards. And while such a high width may be reserved for the 50 series’ flagship GPU, it suggests a memory upgrade for the RTX 5080 is also on the table.
There’s also a growing expectation that the RTX 5080 will feature GDDR7 memory. Samsung has already revealed its completed development of the next-gen DRAM, which will bring the usual improvements in speed, throughput and energy efficiency. Samsung’s hardware partners will start to install it in their systems for testing later this year, while competitor Micron recently revealed in an earnings report that it plans to introduce its own GDDR7 memory chips in the first half of 2024. All of which is to say that by the time the RTX 5080 hits the market, it could well be GDDR7-equipped.
It’s a similar story with the card’s connectivity. PCI-e 5.0 has been floating around for a few years but has rarely appeared on consumer hardware. With a few SSDs and a growing number of motherboards now starting to support the standard, the next wave of GPUs may follow suit.
It’s also looking likely that the RTX 5080 will be joined by four other cards in the series. Several posts on the Chinese tech forum Chiphell, later corroborated with Kopite7kimi by VideoCardz, name what some believe to be Nvidia’s next-gen GPU line-up. Each card is cryptically labeled – GB202, GB203, GB205, GB206, and GB207 – though that fits the naming conventions of past Nvidia generations. The final digit indicates the tier of the card, with the lower number being better. So, we’d expect the GB202 to be the RTX 5090, the GB2023 the RTX 5080, and so on. Where any extra Ti cards will fit into all of that isn’t quite clear.
It’s worth noting that these leaks don’t explicitly mention the 50 series per se, but rather Nvidia’s next-gen Blackwell architecture. Blackwell is the general-purpose, commercial variant of Nvidia’s forthcoming gaming architecture that will be used primarily in data centers. That possibly explains why the cards are labeled as part of the GB200 series – the GB100 naming scheme is reserved for the commercial cards, leaving the GPUs to pick up the second-order category.
Nvidia RTX 5080 performance
We expect the RTX 5080 will build on the key features of its predecessor: new-gen Tensor Cores, more RT (ray tracing) cores, a boosted clock speed, and more GPU cores. Improved rasterization and ray tracing is almost a certainty, given that’s what Nvidia has hitched its wagon to over the last few years, as well as improved path tracing. Perhaps we’ll also see the RTX 5080 support 8K gaming, given the RTX 4080 is more than capable of running games in 4K.