Reddit user (opens in new tab) Ascendance 22 purchased a prototype GeForce 20 series graphics card on eBay branded “GTX”. As you can see in the GPU-Z image, the GeForce GTX 2080 sample looks like his GeForce RTX 2080 with the same Nvidia Founders Edition cooler and his TU104 die. But apparently Nvidia has disabled the RT cores on this prototype, with his GTX badge on the GPU and no ‘GeForce RTX 2080’ badge on the front.
Purchased by a Reddit user GeForce GTX 2080 on eBay (opens in new tab) — Nobody knows what you were doing on eBay in the first place. But it’s fair to say that it’s very rare to see such a prototype in the wild, and usually he’s always kept secret by Nvidia. An eBay merchant sells these GeForce GTX 2080s for $359.95 each as GeForce RTX 2080 engineering samples. There were early rumors that Nvidia was considering launching his GeForce GTX 1180, so this his GeForce GTX 2080 could be the Turing graphics card that never made it to market.
The mysterious GPU appears to be a GeForce RTX 2080 variant. Redditor has uploaded the firmware Tech Power Up (opens in new tab) The website detected my graphics card as a GeForce RTX 2080. Additionally, Redditor’s 3DMark TimeSpy results are nearly identical to the performance of his standard RTX 2080 graphics card. So it’s definitely a prototype of the RTX 2080.
This prototype proves that Nvidia was looking beyond the GTX 1660 Ti to launch a GTX lineup of Turing-based cards. From Nvidia’s point of view, it certainly makes sense. At the time the RTX 20 series debuted, Nvidia’s Turing-based architecture with hardware-accelerated ray tracing cores was cutting-edge technology never before seen in the consumer market.
As a result, Nvidia’s support for new tech was completely lacking, and gamers had little incentive to buy tech that was only available for months or years. The same was true of his DLSS technology from Nvidia, which first appeared in the RTX 20 series. The image quality was poor at the time, and the game lacked support as did Ray’s tracing on the first day.
If Nvidia expands its full GTX 16-series lineup to xx80-series GPUs, this strategy will allow gamers to choose whether they want ray tracing technology or not. Additionally, this could be a potential business opportunity for his Nvidia. That’s because the company was able to acquire a defective Turing die with a rotten RT core and completely disable it against its GTX 20 series counterpart.
This way, consumers can get Turing graphics cards at a lower price point and retain all the architectural enhancements that Turing offers over Pascal. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, much to the dismay of many gamers. But this prototype gives us a clue that Nvidia was at least thinking about the whole “RTXless” lineup for the Turing generation.