The massive “GeForce GTX Gaming Celebration” at GDC 2017 certainly lived up to expectations as Nvidia announced the long-awaited GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, a monstrous 4K-capable graphics card that outpunches the $1,200 Titan X for just $699. But as flashy as Nvidia’s “Ultimate GeForce card” is, the GTX 1080 Ti wasn’t the only story of the night. In order to clear the path for the new flagship’s surprisingly low price—and yes, $699 is surprisingly low for that card—Nvidia needed to tweak the GeForce GTX 1080.
The GeForce GTX 1080’s MSRP of $600 would leave the card precious little breathing room with the Ti checking in at $700—not to mention Nvidia’s own $700 GTX 1080 Founders Edition. So before Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the Ti, he kicked off the event by announcing an official $100 price cut for the GTX 1080, down to $499. (The new pricing didn’t appear immediately on Amazon or Newegg, however.)
That’s encouraging news for gamers who want a high-end card, but can’t afford to spend $700 on a GTX 1080 Ti. The GeForce GTX 1080 has sat firm at its $600 selling price since launch, barring odd sales that shave $10 or $20 off, so this announcement will likely have a significant effect on real-world graphics card pricing.
But where Nvidia taketh away from partners, it also giveth. During an editor’s day in San Francisco on Tuesday, Nvidia announced that its partners—EVGA, Asus, Zotac, et cetera—will now have an option to sell GTX 1080 cards with faster memory, as factory overclocked cards.
These GTX 1080 cards will pack GDDR5X memory clocked at 11Gbps, rather than the 10Gbps stock configuration. Factory-overclocked versions of the GeForce GTX 1060 will also be available, clocked at 9Gbps instead of 8Gbps. Nvidia’s partners haven’t been able to squeeze much more oomph out of GTX 10-series cards as their designs already push memory speeds to the limit, so like the GTX 1080 price drop, this should have damned near immediate effect in the real world. It should also help ease the blow of the sizable price drop for Nvidia’s partners, as graphics card makers will no doubt charge more for models with factory-overclocked memory.
AMD didn’t wind up revealing many new Vega details at its Radeon event earlier the same day, but Nvidia certainly seems to be taking the threat seriously.
Gordon Mah Ung provided additional reporting for this article.