In a short post published on NVIDIA’s website today, the company has announced that it is “unlaunching” their planned GeForce RTX 4080 12GB card. The lowest-end of the initially announce RTX 40 series cards, the RTX 4080 12GB had attracted significant criticism since it’s announcement for bifurcating the 4080 tier between two cards that didn’t even share a common GPU. Seemingly bowing to the pressure of those complaints, NVIDIA has removed the card from their RTX 40 series lineup, as well as cancelling its November launch.

NVIDIA’s brief message reads as follows:

The RTX 4080 12GB is a fantastic graphics card, but it’s not named right. Having two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing.

So, we’re pressing the “unlaunch” button on the 4080 12GB. The RTX 4080 16GB is amazing and on track to delight gamers everywhere on November 16th.

If the lines around the block and enthusiasm for the 4090 is any indication, the reception for the 4080 will be awesome.

NVIDIA is not providing any further details about their future plans for the AD104-based video card at this time. However given the circumstances, it’s a reasonable assumption right now that NVIDIA now intends to launch it at a later time, with a different part number.

NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison
  RTX 4090 RTX 4080 16GB RTX 4080 12GB
CUDA Cores 16384 9728 7680
ROPs 176 112 80
Boost Clock 2520MHz 2505MHz 2610MHz
Memory Clock 21Gbps GDDR6X 22.4Gbps GDDR6X 21Gbps GDDR6X
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit 192-bit
Single 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
TDP 450W 320W 285W
L2 Cache 72MB 64MB 48MB
GPU AD102 AD103 AD104
Transistor Count 76.3B 45.9B 35.8B
Architecture Ada Lovelace Ada Lovelace Ada Lovelace
Manufacturing Process TSMC 4N TSMC 4N TSMC 4N
Launch Date 10/12/2022 11/16/2022 Never
Launch Price MSRP: $1599 MSRP: $1199 Was: $899

Taking a look at the specifications of the cards, it’s easy to see why NVIDIA’s core base of enthusiast gamers were not amused. While both RTX 4080 parts shared a common architecture, they did not share a common GPU. Or, for that matter, common 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 deliver only about 82% of the former’s shader/tensor throughput, and just 70% of the memory bandwidth. A sizable performance gap that NVIDIA’s own figures ahead of the launch have all but confirmed.

NVIDIA, for its part, is no stranger to overloading a product line in this fashion, with similarly-named parts delivering unequal performance and the difference denoted solely by their VRAM capacity. This was a practice that started with the GTX 1060 series, and continued with the RTX 3080 series. However, the performance gap between the RTX 4080 parts was far larger than anything NVIDIA has previously done, bringing a good deal more attention to the problems that come from having such disparate parts sharing a common product name.

Of equal criticism has been NVIDIA’s decision to sell an AD104 part as an RTX 4080 card to begin with. Traditionally in NVIDIA’s product stack, the next card below the xx80 card is some form of xx70 card. And while video card names and GPU identifiers are essentially arbitrary, NVIDIA’s early performance figures painted a picture of a card that would have performed a lot like the kind of card most people would expect from the RTX 4070 – delivering performance upwards of 20% (or more) behind the better RTX 4080, and on-par with the last-generation flagship, the RTX 3090 Ti. In other words, there has been a great deal of suspicion within the enthusiast community that NVIDIA was attempting to sell what otherwise would have been the RTX 4070 as an RTX 4080, while carrying a higher price to match.

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

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  • PeachNCream - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - link

    I doubt these GPUs will sell very well anyway. Sure they do offer performance, but the MSRP for a GPU and supporting hardware to take advantage of it is in the domain of fuel to drive a car to and from work for a year and nevermind the energy costs associated with running said computer and cooling the space where it resides.
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - link

    The high MSRP is to encourage you to buy a 30-series GPU instead, or milk the whales still willing to pay.
  • michael2k - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - link

    Both is true.
  • michael2k - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - link

    The 4090 is already sold out though. As soon as supply and demand match they’ll either drop the price or release a Ti/Super variant to keep the same price point.
  • meacupla - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - link

    4090 is only sold out because nvidia artificially restricted the flow.
    They are sitting on a ton of 4090 and 4080 inventory. They would rather pay storage fees than sell at lower prices.
  • Dribble - Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - link

    The 4090 has sold out because it's a good card - it's only $100 more then the rrp of the 3090 which given increases in costs and inflation is fine, and it's a got a huge performance increase over that card. I agree the 4080 is probably too expensive as it's not the halo card and the bunch of people with basically infinite money will all buy a 4090, there will be very few people looking to only spend the current cost of the 4080.
  • Nfarce - Monday, October 17, 2022 - link

    The power rating and increased power bills is overrated hysteria. I skipped a generation coming from a 1080 Ti to my current 3080 Ti (both EVGA FTW3 editions) bought last year. Stress gaming load from the 1080 Ti to the 3080 Ti went from approximately 310 to 430and that includes moving up from 1440p to a 4K monitor in that 4 year ownership period between the two. My monthly power bill as at best seen just a handful of dollars per month more in Kw/H usage all other things being constant and averaged including gaming time.
  • SirDragonClaw - Monday, October 17, 2022 - link

    They sold out day one, and I know many people trying to get one. They will sell very well, the 4090 in particular is a bargain for its level of performance.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - link

    Its better in terms of hype to say you've sold out of the 10 that were on the shelf than to say you only sold 11 of 100 that were in stock because people expect you to lower your price when there is excess inventory available. That is what's happening at the moment in order to keep the MSRP up for the time being on this particular high margin halo component.
  • Samus - Sunday, October 16, 2022 - link

    Meanwhile I picked up a 3080 for $600 recently. When you take DLSS3 out of the equation, it's only 33% behind a 4080 at half the cost, and its available now.

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