In a surprising move by Nvidia, the company officially announced (opens in new tab) it will be pulling the RTX 4080 12GB off the launch table, and will be deleting the model for good. This comes after serious backfire from the community about Nvidia’s horrible naming scheme for the RTX 4080 12GB, which featured significantly lower core counts and memory specifications compared to the 4080 16GB variant.
Rarely does the company admit mistakes on branding, and even more uncommon is the decision to pull a product from the launch table. The RTX 4080 12GB name was undeniably deceptive in its nomenclature, with the RTX 4080 12GB and 16GB featuring vastly different core specifications, despite both cards sharing the RTX 4080 name.
The RTX 4080 16GB was supposed to feature 9728 CUDA cores using the AD103 GPU, with a 256-bit wide bus, 22.6Gbps GDDR6X memory, and 717 GB/s of bandwidth. The RTX 4080 12GB meanwhile was to use the AD104 GPU with only 7680 CUDA cores, paired with 21Gbps GDDR6X operating on a 192-bit wide bus, yielding 504 GB/s of bandwidth.
In Nvidia’s own testing, this massive difference is specs translated into a whopping 30% performance difference between the 4080 12GB and 16GB models, which equates to a entirely different performance tier altogether if we look at previous GeForce products. Given those performance figures, we’re certainly glad Nvidia pulled the plug on the RTX 4080 12GB before it was released.
It looks like the RTX 4080 16GB will now launch as just the plain old RTX 4080, presumably with the same specs but without listing the memory capacity as part of the name. What we don’t know is whether the change in name will also come with a price cut, though given the 4090 sold out at launch we wouldn’t hope for much. Still, even though RTX 3080 Ti launched at $1,199, the 3080 10GB was only $699. This would be a massive step up in generational pricing if Nvidia keeps the 4080 at the previous $1,199 price point.
Nvidia has not announced a replacement for the RTX 4080 12GB, only its deletion from the product stack. Nvidia must have a replacement in the works, since RTX 4080 12GB partner models were likely already in production. We assume it will inherit the RTX 4070 brand, though it could potentially also end up as an RTX 4070 Ti if Nvidia decides to go that route. With a reduction to 4070 status, we also expect Nvidia will reduce the price — $599 for an RTX 4070 seems reasonable to us.
There’s probably a lot more going on behind the scenes than just enthusiast and press outrage over the naming scheme. RTX 4090 sold out, even with a starting price of $1,599. Maybe Nvidia feels confident it can raise other prices. Certainly, looking at the potential cost of the hardware behind the various GPUs, it’s difficult to come up with a scenario where AD103 and AD104 need to sell at $1,200 and $900, respectively, to boost Nvidia profits.
AMD’s looming RDNA 3 launch may also be a factor. Perhaps Nvidia has early indications of performance and pricing and is deciding to take pre-emptive action. We’ll hopefully know more in early November.