Look, before you get mad at me, I totally get it if you're head over heels in love with the supposed RTX 3080 design pictured below. Coming out of Chinese-language forum, Chiphell (opens in new tab), the RTX 3080 has been snapped donning an unusual twin-fan design, and its many heatsinks and wind-tunnel design has already won favour among nosy aficionados.
But all of us hardware folk here at PC Gamer agree, it's just a little nasty. The cross design, the strange fins, the lack of detail, the tiny font—it's all just a bit basic. So is this really our first look at Nvidia's Ampere (opens in new tab) architecture in GeForce garb?
We only have a single photograph to go off (via 9550pro (opens in new tab) on Twitter), and in the tech world that's far from conclusive evidence. While it sure looks like it would be an Nvidia special—what with the font, black and silver shroud, and profoundly Jen-Hsun styling—there's also nothing specifically linking this design to Nvidia just yet.
RTX 3080??🤔https://t.co/arLfHmxT90 pic.twitter.com/JF73FUN9OMJune 6, 2020
At least the PCB underneath appears to be quite short, in order to make way for the topsy-turvy fan design, which could make way for potential small-form factor cards. Some single-fan designs and potentially gorgeous water blocks that do away with the whole shroud altogether would go a long way to changing my mind about the 30-series' whole look.
If this shroud ever makes it to production and onward into our gaming PCs, it would likely see a couple more revisions beyond what's pictured here today. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking. The little flourishes and final touches really turn a chunk of metal and plastic into something that's right at home amongst your high-end PC parts, and I'm holding out for something a little more polished.
GPU shrouds tend to leak a couple of months ahead of the real deal, and but that's far from an exact science. Still, it's a possibly heartening sign that new graphics cards are indeed on the way—even if we kind of knew that anyways. An end of year battle royale between Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA 2 (opens in new tab) has been on the cards for some time, and AMD, at least, is confident that everything is on track, as planned. That bodes well for whatever Nvidia has up its sleeve, too.