Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang had a lot to say last night at GDC. The biggest news was the announcement of the $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and a $100 price drop on the existing GTX 1080. The crowd in attendance was arguably more interested in the company's updated development and performance measurement tools. Lost in all that madness was a smaller bit of hardware news: Nvidia has given board partners the green light to ready up GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB and GTX 1080 cards using faster memory.
Manufacturers now have the option to turn the GTX 1080 up to 11 by replacing the 10 GT/s GDDR5X memory from the reference design with faster 11 GT/s chips. The standard GTX 1080 specs haven't changed—cards built with faster memory will simply be marketed as factory overclocked units and sold alongside the regular ones. In the same vein, board makers can opt to build GeForce GTX 1060 cards with 6 GB of 9 GT/s GDDR5 memory instead of the standard 8 GT/s stuff.
This permissive policy on memory specifications should allow board vendors to hit a larger variety of price targets and reduce the rather wide gap between the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and the GTX 1070, as well as the presumably-smaller divide between the GTX 1080 and its upcoming GTX 1080 Ti overlord. We're just counting the minutes until the first board partner tweets that it's "cranking the GeForce GTX 1080 up to 11."