Any time a new product launches, you can guarantee that related forums will carry at least a certain load of problem posts from end users whose initial experience with the device is anything but good. It can be genuinely difficult to parse out what constitutes a ‘real’ problem as opposed to undesirable-but-statistically-expected failure rates. But there are some troubling signs of issues with Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti — and the failures appear to be mostly isolated to that GPU. This is potentially significant, given that the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are built on different physical GPU dies — an issue with both the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti would imply something was wrong with the entire Turing family or with a common aspect of board production.
To be clear, we don’t know if there’s an actual problem yet, if it’s strictly confined to the RTX 2080 Ti, or if the intrinsic nature of forum and social media reporting, where people show up much more frequently to complain about something not working than to praise its function if it’s working properly are creating the illusion of an issue where one does not exist. But as Digital Trends reports, there are a lot of unhappy users claiming their RTX 2080 Ti’s have quit working after relatively short periods of time or arrived dead. Multiple readers are claiming to be on their second RTX 2080 Ti.
This is the type of issue that rapidly and understandably leads to angry users — nobody likes finding out that their high-end GPUs are non-functional from the factory, much less going through repetitive replacement cycles. So far, that’s the biggest red flag in all of this: Multiple reports from users claiming to be on their second RTX 2080 Ti, or to have had more than one card fail at the same time. That’s noteworthy because it implies that end users could be seeing much higher failure rates than normal. Anyone can get a single bad board, but receiving multiple bad cards in sequence can be a sign of larger problems.
But the words “can be” are in that sentence are there for a reason. When the Apple iPhone 8 started shipping in 2017, the company confirmed that some devices had popped open during shipping. After Samsung’s disastrous Galaxy Note 7 the year before, the news of a potential Apple battery problem was major news — but the iPhone 8 did not develop a noted or significant issue with phones popping open or any other issues that would be related to a battery failure. The early reports that the Galaxy Note 7 was having battery problems, on the other hand, proved to be entirely accurate. On the other, other hand, multiple dead products in a row is worrisome — that was one problem that afflicted IBM’s infamous 75GXP hard drive family, which ranked as one of the worst product launch disasters I’ve covered in my career. Nvidia’s problem, if one exists, is almost certainly much smaller, but it’s not clear if we’re seeing the beginning of a flood of issues or a sampling artifact.
Nvidia’s official position is that there is no larger problem with the RTX family or the RTX 2080 Ti. A company spokesperson told us “We are working with users individually but we are not seeing any broader issues.” If these are, in fact, the usual issues associated with a launch, the problems should diminish over time. If not, that will become clear as the chorus of unhappy users grows.