NVIDIA Scrubs GeForce RTX 4080 12GB Launched; Single 16GB RTX 4080 card

In a short post today on NVIDIA’s website, the company announced that it was “dropping” its planned GeForce RTX 4080 12GB card. The lowest-end of the originally announced RTX 40-series cards, the RTX 4080 12GB had drawn a lot of criticism since its announcement for forking the 4080 tier between two cards that didn’t even share a common GPU. Seemingly bowing to the pressure of those complaints, NVIDIA pulled the card from its RTX 40-series lineup, along with its launch in November.

NVIDIA’s short message reads as follows:

The RTX 4080 12GB is a fantastic graphics card, but it’s got the wrong name. Having two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing.

So we hit the “Disable” button on the 4080 12GB. The RTX 4080 16GB is amazing and on track to delight gamers around the world on November 16th.

If the lines around the block and the enthusiasm for the 4090 are any indication, the reception of the 4080 will be great.

NVIDIA is not providing further details on its future plans for the AD104-based video card at this time. However, given the circumstances, it’s reasonable to assume that NVIDIA intends to release it later, with a different part number.

NVIDIA GeForce Specs Comparison
RTX-4090 RTX 4080 16GB RTX 4080 12GB
CUDA Colors 16384 9728 7680
ORP 176 112 80
Boost clock 2520MHz 2505MHz 2610MHz
Memory clock 21 Gbps GDDR6X 22.4 Gbps GDDR6X 21 Gbps GDDR6X
Memory bus width 384 bit 256 bit 192 bit
VRAM 24 GB 16 GB 12 GB
Simple precision perf. 82.6 TFLOPS 48.7 TFLOPS 40.1 TFLOPS
Tensor Perf. (FP16) 330 TFLOPS 195 TFLOPS 160 TFLOPS
Tensor Perf. (FP8) 660 TFLOPS 390 TFLOPS 321 TFLOPS
PDT 450W 320W 285W
L2 cache 72 MB 64 MB 48 MB
GPUs AD102 AD103 AD104
Number of transistors 76.3B 45.9B 35.8B
Architecture There is Lovelace There is Lovelace There is Lovelace
Manufacturing process TSMC4N TSMC4N TSMC4N
Release date 10/12/2022 11/16/2022 Never
Introductory price MSRP: $1,599 MSRP: $1,199 Was: $899

Looking at the card specs, it’s easy to see why NVIDIA’s passionate gamer base wasn’t amused. While both RTX 4080 parts shared a common architecture, they did not share a common GPU. Or, for that matter, joint performance.

The RTX 4080 12GB, as it was, would have been based on the smaller AD104 GPU, rather than the AD103 GPU used for the 16GB model. In practice, this would have caused the 12GB model to only deliver about 82% of the shader/tensor throughput of the former and only 70% of the memory bandwidth. A massive performance gap that NVIDIA’s own pre-launch numbers all but confirmed.

NVIDIA, for its part, is no stranger to overloading a product line in this way, with similarly named parts offering uneven performance and the difference indicated only by their VRAM capacity. It is a practice that began with the GTX 1060 Seriesand continued with RTX 3080 Series. However, the performance gap between the RTX 4080 parts was far greater than anything NVIDIA had done before, drawing much more attention to the issues around having such disparate parts share a common product name.

NVIDIA’s decision to sell part AD104 as an RTX 4080 card was equally criticized to begin with. Traditionally in the NVIDIA product stack, the next card below the xx80 card is some form of xx70 card. And while video card names and GPU IDs are mostly arbitrary, NVIDIA’s early performance numbers painted a picture of a card that would have performed much like the type of card most people would expect from the RTX 4070. – offering performance 20% (or more) behind the best RTX 4080, and on par with the latest generation flagship, the RTX 3090 Ti. In other words, there was a lot of suspicion within the enthusiast community that NVIDIA was trying to sell what would otherwise have been the RTX 4070 as the RTX 4080, while offering a higher price to match.

In any case, these plans are now officially scuttled. Everything NVIDIA has planned for its AD104-based RTX 40-series card is something only the company knows at this time. In the meantime, come on November 16e when the RTX 4080 series launches, 16GB AD103-based cards will be the only offerings available, with prices starting at $1199.

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