RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080: The VRAM Battle Royale

Why does RTX 3070 TI have 16 GB of VRAM while RTX 3080 TI has 12 GB? This is the question most gamers are asking. And in this article, we will compare RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080, 12GB VRAM vs 16GB VRAM graphics cards with a focus on their memory, performance, and technical specifications.

RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080: What is a VRAM?

RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080

VRAM (Video Random Access Memory) is a type of memory that is specifically designed for use in graphics cards. It is used to store the images, textures, and other graphical data that are being rendered in real time by the GPU.

The amount of VRAM on a graphics card can have a significant impact on its performance. In general, the more VRAM a graphics card has, the more data it can store, which allows it to perform better in demanding applications.

For example, if a graphics card has only 2 GB of VRAM and is running a game at high resolutions with high-quality textures, it may run into memory limitations and experience stuttering, slowdowns, or other performance issues. However, if that same graphics card had 8 GB of VRAM, it would be able to store more data and perform more smoothly, even in demanding applications.

In summary, VRAM is a crucial component of a graphics card’s performance and having more VRAM generally results in better performance. The amount of VRAM required will depend on the specific application and how demanding it is, so it’s important to consider the VRAM capacity when choosing a graphics card.

If the VRAM is that important then Why does the more expansive RTX 3080 has less Vram as compared to a bit cheaper RTX 3070Ti?

Taking Close look at RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080

RTX 3070Ti vs RTX 3080
Nvidia RTX 3080, Source: Nvidia

To answer this important question we need to take a close look at the specs of both cards to understand why the older card has more Vram than the newer one.

Performance ParameterRTX 3080 12 GBRTX 3070 Ti 16 GB
Pipelines/CUDA cores61448960
Base Clock/Boost clock 1440 /1710 MHz1580 /1770 MHz
Number of transistors17,400 million28,300 million
Manufacturing process8 nm8 nm
TDP290 Watt350 Watt
Texture fill rate339.8478.8
Memory Interface Width384 Bit256-Bit
Memory Bandwidth608.3 GB/s912.4 GB/s
Specs Comparison between RTX 3080 vs RTX 3070Ti

Observing the above specs we can see some differences between the two cards (BOLD text).

This results in a bus width of 256-bit for VRAM capacities of 4, 8, 12, or 16 GB, a bus width of 320-bit for VRAM capacities of 10 or 20 GB, or a bus width of 384-bit for VRAM capacities of 12 or 24 GB. Each bus width can handle either 1 GB or 2 GB memory, leading to variations in cost.

Lower bus width and bandwidth characterize slower graphics cards. Although the 256-bit bus width is more accessible to reach 16 GB VRAM, the 384-bit bus width is limited to either 12 GB or 24 GB.

To get higher memory, some cards have the option to put modules on the back of the card, which doubles the RAM but doesn’t increase bandwidth. For example, a 320-bit bus card only has options for 10GB, 20GB, or 40GB, while a 256-bit bus card can have 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB.

The full GA102 GPU found in the RTX 3080 and 3090 has 12 memory channels, which means you can have 12GB, 24GB, or 48GB of memory. The full GA104 GPU in the RTX 3060 and 3070 has 8 memory channels, which gives you options for 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB. Using anything less than all the memory channels will result in lower memory bandwidth. For example, the RTX 3080 with 12GB of memory actually has a 384-bit bus, not a 320-bit bus, because not all of the GPU’s 12 memory channels are utilized.

Use the links to check the detailed technical specifications of RTX 3070Ti and RTX 3080

If you want to Check the price for RTX 3070Ti Click HERE!

If you want to Check the price for RTX 3080 Click HERE!

Now we can answer the Question more logically:

RTX 3070 is based on old technology regarding memory configuration and memory bandwidth, so it can go to 16GB without a major update in the PCB/GPU. This means less cost to manufacture but looks very attractive on paper. Nvidia has to compete with AMD’s graphic cards (which are coming with more VRAM) so they need to make these changes to look good on the spec sheets.

While RTX 3080 has a memory bandwidth of 384-bits so it can either go to 12GB or 24GB. So, a more cost-effective approach from Nvidia’s point of view was going for 12GB, which is a decent VRAM for most available AAA titles.

In Summary:

Nvidia’s upgrade for 3070Ti was for the following reasons:

  • It was cheaper to get 16GBs and to compete with AMD’s GPUs
  • The 16GB variant might not affect too much gaming performance (due to old memory configuration) but can be a big improvement in other tasks like video editing and rendering software.

Nvidia’s upgrade for 3080 was for the following reasons:

  • Upgrading to 12GB was a cost-effective approach and 12GB VRAM is sufficient to handle modern AAA gaming titles
  • The other reason could be that they want to save 2GB configuration for more modern cards (like RTX 3090) so they can justify the price and the update.

Check out Nvidia’s latest 40-series graphics cards’ detailed review by clicking HERE!

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the difference between RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 Ti in terms of memory?
    • The RTX 3080 has 12 GB of memory with a 384-bit bus width, while the RTX 3070 Ti has 16 GB of memory with a 256-bit bus width.
  2. How does the bus width impact performance?
    • The bus width determines the memory bandwidth, and a higher memory bandwidth means better performance.
  3. What are GDDR6/6X modules and how do they work?
    • GDDR6/6X are types of memory modules that are used in graphics cards. The number of modules determines the bus width, and each module provides 32 bits of aggregate bandwidth.
  4. Why is the RTX 3080 only 12 GB and not 16 GB?
    • The RTX 3080 is limited to 12 GB of memory due to the GA102 variant in it not actually having all 12 memory channels functional. Utilizing all of the memory channels would result in a 384-bit bus and a maximum of 48 GB of memory.
  5. How do the memory bandwidth of RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 Ti compare?
    • The RTX 3080 has a memory bandwidth of 912 GB/s, while the RTX 3070 Ti has a memory bandwidth of 608 GB/s. The disparity in performance is due to the difference in bus width.

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