Nvidia plans to stop producing worse TU104 and TU106 chips of the RTX 2070/RTX 2080 at the end of May. The prices could also drop. The reason: AMD Navi.
Nvidia Non-A-Chips: no factory overclocking, but low priced
With the Turing generation, Nvidia has for the first time introduced a two-tier society with models that should actually be equivalent. The RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti come with the TU106, TU104 and TU102 chips. However, there are two versions of each chip. The stronger version has an “A” at the end, for the RTX 2080 this would be the chip with the number TU104-400A. The weaker version comes without the “A” at the end. These non-A chips are much cheaper for the board partners, but also have a catch. They must not be overclocked at the factory. This has the background that they meet the quality requirements of Nvidia, but do not reach the absolute peak values of other, selected chips.
So if you’re looking for graphics cards, you should always take a look at the exact chip that’s built in. If a graphics card is not factory overclocked, this indicates a non-A chip. The offer may be cheap, but the graphics card may not be so well clockable and also not overclocked by the manufacturer itself. At least with the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 this changes now. The reason could be AMD’s upcoming launch of the Navi architecture.
No more non-A chips for RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 from the end of May onwards
German tech journalist Igor Wallossek from Tom’s Hardware received interesting news from several distribution channels a few days ago. At the end of May, Nvidia will end production of the TU104-400 and TU106-400 chips as well as the respective A versions. These are to be replaced by the TU104-410 and TU106-410 chips. The basic structure of the chips will of course remain the same, but the new GPUs will end the separation into A and non-A chips. Thus all GPUs may be overclocked from now on. Interestingly, this should also apply to graphics cards already produced with the old chips. From now on board partners are allowed to deliver a BIOS update, which enables a higher clock rate.
Is a price reduction because of AMD Navi coming up?
Since GPUs are still necessary for the cheap versions of the board partners, there will probably be a price change soon. But this doesn’t concern these inexpensive GPUs, but the more expensive variants. In the future, these will also have to compete with cheaper designs, as these may also be overclocked at the factory. As a result and probably also due to lower prices for the new 410 GPUs, prices will generally go down. A price correction by Nvidia could also push prices down.
One reason for this could be the preparation for AMD Navi. AMD’s new generation of graphics cards could also compete with the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 at low prices. According to the last report, the RTX 2070 in particular would be affected by a large price difference. With such an action, Nvidia would already counteract this in advance, as Navi is not scheduled to be launched on the market until the third quarter of 2019. By then, the prices of the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 could already fall. Whether falling prices were triggered by the fear of Navi is actually irrelevant – the probability is however very high, since competition pressure usually generates the fastest reaction.