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Sunday | September 19, 2021
RTX 30: a messed up generation?

RTX 30: a messed up generation?

Obviously, some people will have their hair standing up when reading the title of this little article. However, we’ll take it on board and tell you why this generation is a mess.

RTX 30 foireuse

RTX 30: top performance, low quality.

Leaving aside the exceptional situation we are going through, as soon as this generation was launched, we said that Nvidia had reached the peak of the screw-up. Long before the shortage, the Covid, the proliferation of bad miners, etc., the beginning of the trouble started with the switch to Samsung to manufacture the Ampere series GPUs. A decision undoubtedly dictated by costs but which immediately handicapped Nvidia because of a much lower yield than expected. Of course, what happened next is not Nvidia’s responsibility at all, with the health crisis and the explosion of demand plunging the market into a tension never seen before. But what about the chameleon’s communication?

“Early last year we launched our Ampere-based GeForce RTX 30 series gaming GPUs and it was a huge success, probably the most successful launch we’ve had to date.”

(Colette KressNvidia’s CFO)

This situation has annoyed all PC enthusiasts. But the lack of real competition allowed Nvidia to keep up appearances. Because in the field of performance, we have to admit that the company has done a good job with a real leap forward and once again a significant contribution to the world of PCs. However, since the beginning, quality defects, problems and version changes have multiplied. They are often “hushed up” and don’t make waves in the media, but if we take a step back, what brand could multiply quality problems without any trouble in another industry?

A succession of problems in a relative indifference.

From the beginning, feedback, remarks and questions appeared on the top of the Ampere range. We remember the procrastination of some brands concerning the choice of capacitors on the RTX 3080.

RTX 3080 condensateurs

An episode that ended with a “move along, nothing to see“… Recently, we heard the story of the RTX 3090 (apparently only at EVGA) which was released under New World… A story that ended with a mea culpa from EVGA pointing to a problem of soldering quality. A “simple” problem of soldering on a card at more than 2000€! Then these last days we had a festival showing us that despite their prohibitive prices, the most expensive cards do not benefit from a minimum of quality control before being launched on the market. We saw the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, just bought by an enthusiastic customer, rise very quickly to 110°C, due to a piece of glove left by a technician on the assembly line…

RTX 30 foireuse

And finally, in the last few hours, another customer who was happy to have been able to buy a 3080 Ti was panicked to see the Vram temperature soar. He joined a large group of users with the same problem. A logical situation in reality, again caused by an assembly quality defect: two complete rows of VRAM and VRAM were mounted without thermal pad…

RTX 30 foireuse

Nvidia responsible but not guilty?

So clearly you all must have it on your lips already, but in all these cases, including for a Founders Edition, Nvidia is not at the helm when it comes to card assembly. Brands like EVGA, Asus, MSI and others have their own factories and all these quality issues are found on their production lines and not in the design of the GPUs. This is true and it is indisputable. To get the cards to market, most brands have compressed the testing and even the design protocols of the cards to the max. A vast majority of the RTX 30s available have very little of the brand’s DNA in question. To hell with bold PCBs and innovations: most just follow the roadmap given by Nvidia. It is detailed enough to build a card from A to Z, from the PCB to the list of necessary components (BOM). The only thing left for the brand is the cooling system, the rgb and the marketing… Differentiation by design is no longer an argument, only the presence of the cards on the market is necessary. And this is where Nvidia is partly responsible. First of all, by wanting to control the information from end to end, Nvidia delivers its GPU / Vram kits only a few days before the official launch announcement of its latest generations. A delay that has been considerably reduced for several years according to several brands. A strategy that obviously reduces leaks but is detrimental to the time of testing, design and development. Secondly, and the crisis is also a major factor, because Nvidia has been delivering its GPUs for months in a very tight flow. Here again, our recent discussions with a major European PC component distributor speak for themselves: the brands confided that they only have a few days’ visibility on GPU deliveries from Nvidia. This makes it impossible to plan production. At a time when the mere presence of cards on the shelves ensures an almost certain sale, the only concern is to produce them as quickly as possible, by compressing the stages as much as possible. Of course, AMD is probably not doing any better, but it is less exposed because of its relatively modest weight on the market. Obviously, Nvidia is not the “legal” responsible for all these problems.

But ask yourself a simple question: would you buy a TV, a bike or any other product with a high-end positioning that has such a chaotic history on the market?

The answer is clearly no. This is because you would probably always have a plan B to buy the bike of your dreams from another brand… This is not the case today. The competition is perhaps a solution even if it seems to take the same path as Nvidia for its manufacturing process, at AMD as Intel visibly. To question these concerns is not to spit in the soup. It’s also asking the question of when the degree of acceptance of this situation will plunge. Without change, this day will come by lassitude, anger and disillusionment… And it is the whole PC market that will lose. Credit: front page image from Gamespot video and edited

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Edited by Calliers

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