The upcoming Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs will reportedly be divided into three tiers, according to their respective quality. The chance of getting a good or a great chip is bigger than getting an “ok” chip, but the probability is expected to increase as the manufacturing process matures.
It's known that in the semiconductor world, every chip has a variable level of quality. To differentiate them in different levels, the chip manufacturers test and sort the chips in a process called chip binning. By testing how much voltage they can handle, their operating temperature, and their “overclockability”, manufacturers divide their chips into binning tiers to differentiate them. Depending on these results, each chip will be destined to “different” applications or just be destroyed if they do not meeting the minimum criteria.
In Nvidia's case, the process gets more complicated. The company sends AiB partners a board with the GPU and the memory soldered on. After receiving this, it's the AiB partner's job to use the better-binned GPUs in their high-grade graphics cards, while the standard ones are used in their cheapest graphics cards.
There are multiple processes to select which chips get to be used in high-grade graphics cards. There's the 50:50 method, where the AiB partner mounts the cooler on the card, tests it, and then selects if it will be a factory OC or a reference clocked one, for example. The AiB can also “pre-bin” the graphics card, but it might get more expensive.
As per Igor'sLab, the Ampere GPUs will be divided into three different tiers: Bin “0”, Bin “1”, and Bin “2”. The Bin “0” are okay chips, the Bin “1” chips are the good ones, and the Bin “2” are the best of them all. The probability of having a Bin “0” chip will be 30%, a Bin “1” will sit at 60%, and Bin “2” will be 10%, meaning that the chances of getting a good or great chip are greater than getting an okay one. Given the short production time that Samsung had, these values seem pretty good. As the process matures, the chances of getting Bin “1” and “2” chips will increase.
KitGuru says: How important is it for you to get a higher binned RTX 30 series graphics card? Would you pay extra for a higher chance of getting a higher-binned card?