According to a report by Bodnara, Nvidia’s Korea CEO Kim Seung-gyu further explained why the company canceled the GeForce RTX 4080 12GB. In short, Kim Seung-gyu said that the name of the RTX 4080 12GB was “confusing” compared to the RTX 4080 16GB, because the latter offered significantly more performance. Seung-gyu explained that Nvidia normally names the GPUs so that the model name can be used to predict performance, but the large difference in performance between the two 4080 models would confuse customers.
Nvidia’s official USA announcement wasn’t quite so clear, boiling down to a single sentence that said the designation was confusing without any explanation of the rationale behind the decision.
It’s noteworthy that the cancellation could be self-serving: The 4080 cancellation apparently raises the entry-level pricing of the 4000-series to $1,200, and there is no indication when a lower-priced alternative will come to market. That ensures a high-priced point of entry, and will also push many customers to Ampere cards, helping rid the company of its oversupply of those models. Nvidia recently wrote off $1.32 billion for excess Ampere inventory and related reserves (opens in new tab).
To recap, Nvidia permanently killed off the RTX 4080 12GB SKU seven days ago, admitting that the card’s name was confusing. There were also severe differences in specifications and performance between the 12GB and 16GB models. Nvidia’s own testing confirmed this, with the 4080 12GB and 16GB featuring a whopping 30% performance disparity between the two SKUs.
Obviously, there was far more than just a memory capacity difference. The “unlaunched” 4080 12GB used a different chip, AD104, with 7680 CUDA cores and 60 Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs), compared to the 4080 16GB using AD103 with 9728 CUDA cores and 76 SMs. The memory was also clocked higher on the 16GB card, indicating it’s almost certainly using Micron’s 24Gbps GDDR6X chips.
Nvidia hasn’t announced a replacement plan for the RTX 4080 12GB, but we do know that AIB partner versions of the RTX 4080 12GB were already created and Nvidia will be “refunding” those partners — presumably for the packaging, which will have to change. Nvidia will eventually create a new name for these “ex-RTX 4080 12GB” cards, likely sooner than later. We expect the core design will eventually show up as an RTX 4070 or RTX 4070 Ti, though Nvidia may change the specs slightly to avoid accusations of simply rebranding what was always supposed to be a 4070 GPU.
You can read more about the Nvidia Ada Architecture, where we still have full specs on the “unlaunched” RTX 4080 12GB. The GeForce RTX 4090 meanwhile has taken the top spot on our GPU benchmarks hierarchy and now ranks as the fastest of the best graphics cards. Hopefully the replacement for the 4080 12GB will get a price cut commensurate with the loss in performance and features when it reappears.