Nvidia 'Unlaunches' Poorly Named RTX 4080 12GB

GeForce RTX 4080 - Founders Edition
(Image credit: Nvidia)

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.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • Peter_Bollwerk
    Good. Literally everyone knew it was a bad idea to call a "4070" a 4080 12 GB, given the obvious gap in performance. I'm honestly amazed that this ever got approved in the first place.
    Reply
  • atomicWAR
    About time. But what I expect is a relaunch as a 4070 (or TI version of it) at the same price. Which is fine except pricing. Nvidia has already over priced this gen. Anyways I hope I am wrong on the price bit.
    Reply
  • helper800
    If Nvidia drops the 4080 16gb to 899 or 999 it would garner some good will from their customers and may end up selling more at a lower profit margin making up the different in profit. If they keep the 4080 16gb at 1199 and just change the name of the 4080 12gb to a 4070 with no price drop this scenario will just be business as usual for Nvidia. They have a real chance to garner some good will from consumers.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Nah... They just release 4070ti at $899 or $999 because 4090 is selling so well!
    But in anyway good to change the name. 4075? 4080SE... I expect the 4070ti moniker and cut down version later as 4070 with 10 gb or 6 Gb memory at $699
    Reply
  • TCA_ChinChin
    helper800 said:
    If Nvidia drops the 4080 16gb to 899 or 999 it would garner some good will from their customers and may end up selling more at a lower profit margin making up the different in profit. If they keep the 4080 16gb at 1199 and just change the name of the 4080 12gb to a 4070 with no price drop this scenario will just be business as usual for Nvidia. They have a real chance to garner some good will from consumers.
    While I certainly wish for something like that to happen, the chances of Nvidia and Jensen approving price drops like that are slim to none. The RTX-4080 16GB is gonna launch and sell out for 1200$ and the RTX-4080 12GB that just got unlaunched as is gonna be rebranded as an RTX-4070/ti, with no change in price, later down the line and it will still sell like hotcakes, seeing how people still bought at the height of the GPU shortage. Nvidia doesn't need good will from consumers to sell cards, going by past history, people will buy their stuff no matter what.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    Peter_Bollwerk said:
    . I'm honestly amazed that this ever got approved in the first place.
    its leather jacket jensen...he wants to be apple.

    issue being the PC market isnt full of hseep who accept what the company says.
    Reply
  • elforeign
    The 4080 16GB is already a 40% reduction on cores from the 4090. It's at best a 4070. There is no real 4080 coming to the market from Nvidia. the 4080 12GB at best was a 4060TI. Nvidia thinks their market is stupid. Sit this one out boys.
    Reply
  • Sanderan
    The fact that the 4090 sold out on launch day does not mean much unless we know how many units were sold, we also know that Nvidia is not about manipulating the market to boost interest about a product launch.
    Nevertheless, something in the sale figures of the 4090 probably showed them that they would not be able to pull a fast one on customers with a lesser card as a much higher price point. The sale figures hypothesis makes more sense than disappointing benchmarks for the fake 4080 12G
    Reply
  • lmcnabney
    The ultra high end will always sell well. There are just too many rich or competitive gamers that just HAVE to have the best GPU available. The problem is that the curve in pricing for GPUs in decreasing capability doesn't drop very quickly. Even after the crypto crash GPUs that are equivalent to a 5-6 year old 1080 are still selling for hundreds.

    I guess this is good news for AMD. They will make money on the PC gamers that get a console instead of dropping 3-4x the money on an upper midrange rig.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    elforeign said:
    The 4080 16GB is already a 40% reduction on cores from the 4090. It's at best a 4070. There is no real 4080 coming to the market from Nvidia. the 4080 12GB at best was a 4060TI. Nvidia thinks they're market is stupid. Sit this one out boys.

    They left a lot of room for a 4080 TI.
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    The question is, will they actually just rename this to 4070 or will the kill it altogether and release a less capable 4070
    Reply