Nvidia was set to launch two versions of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 on November 16 but has since “unlaunched” the 12GB RTX 4080 edition of the GPU. In a short blog post, the company admitted that having two graphics cards with the same name was “confusing.”
It was surprising to hear Nvidia concede like this, but the 12GB RTX 4080’s biggest issue wasn’t its branding. The cheaper model offered considerably fewer CUDA cores, less memory bandwidth and the AD104 chip instead of the AD103. Per Nvidia’s own benchmarks, the 16GB RTX 4080 was 25-35% more powerful than its 12GB counterpart. That’s a huge difference between GPUs bearing the same name.
Many in the PC gaming community said that, based on its specs, the 12GB RTX 4080 should have gone under the RTX 4070 banner. It seems this may be the case if recent rumors are accurate.
According to well-known leaker kopite7kimi, Nvidia will rebrand the 12GB RTX 4080 as the RTX 4070 Ti and launch it sometime in January. As far as we can tell, this new GPU will have the same specs as the original $899 RTX 4080.
Given that this is a rumor, we should treat it with a healthy dose of skepticism. However, I hope that the leak is accurate. Yes, the original announcement was very confusing, but I believe Nvidia would be doing the right thing with this potentially rebranded RTX 12GB RTX 4080. I’ll explain why below.
In my piece explaining why I’m skipping the RTX 40 series, I singled out the 12GB RTX 4080 and called it borderline insulting. If the rumor is true, I applaud Nvidia for releasing the card under the more appropriate RTX 4070 Ti moniker. However, a part of me is still annoyed at the company.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||RTX 4080 12GB||RTX 4080 16GB||RTX 4090 24GB|
|Total Graphics Power (TGP)||285W||320W||450W|
The 12GB RTX 4080 has 7,680 CUDA cores compared to the 9,728 cores found in the 16GB model. This means the $899 Lovelace card wouldn’t be as performant as the $1,199 version. In addition, the 12GB variant has a lower bus width and lower power draw. The latter isn’t a bad thing since this card will use less power, but a lower bus width means it wouldn’t be able to access or transmit as much data as the 16GB card.
My main concern was that unsuspecting buyers would have opted for the cheaper card, thinking they’d only getting less memory. Thankfully, that will no longer be the case as the rumored RTX 4070 Ti will be its own distinct card.
There’s a reason Nvidia and AMD release various editions of their respective graphics cards: It’s good to give consumers different options. If the RTX 4070 Ti is real, it’d give prospective buyers more choices.
As things stand, the RTX 4090 costs $1,599 while the 16GB RTX 4080 is priced at $1,199. The 12GB RTX 4080 was supposed to cost $899 so it’s possible the new RTX 4070 Ti could cost the same. If so, it would give people a sub-$1,000 option if the two other cards are too costly. It would also be a direct competitor to the newly announced AMD Radeon 7000 GPUs, which are both priced under $1,000.
The RTX 4070 Ti isn’t yet official but I believe the rumored GPU will eventually manifest in one form or another. Nvidia presumably already had the 12GB RTX 4080 all but ready to ship. Because of that, it makes sense for the company to release and sell the graphics card under a new name. It would have been a waste of money and resources otherwise.
The 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 is set to release on November 16, 2022. Hopefully, we’ll get official word about the RTX 4070 Ti at that time. I’m especially interested to see how this GPU, if real, will be received by the PC gaming community. Will consumers forgive Nvidia?
Despite my own feelings about the RTX 4080 debacle, I’m more than willing to look past that confounding reveal if Nvidia does right by its customers. Who knows, maybe I’ll reconsider my stance on the RTX 40 series.