Nvidia announced today that it would be “unlaunching” the 12GB version of its upcoming GeForce RTX 4080-series GPU on the basis that “having two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing.” The card will not be launching in the originally planned November window, but it will return at some point following a rebranding.
“The RTX 4080 12GB is a fantastic graphics card, but it’s not named right,” reads a brief, anonymous Nvidia blog post. The 16GB version of the 4080 will still launch on November 16.
The 16GB version of the 4080 was in keeping with past xx80-series Nvidia cards—it used the same GPU die as the high-end RTX 4090, but with some of the CUDA cores switched off and the clock speeds reduced. But the difference between the 12GB and 16GB versions of the 4080 was much larger than their names would suggest; the 12GB version came with many fewer CUDA cores and a narrower 192-bit memory bus, and rumors indicated it used a totally different GPU die. Benchmarks from Nvidia suggested the 12GB version could be as much as 30 percent slower than the 16GB version of the 4080.
The most likely course of action is that Nvidia and its partners will rebadge and rebrand all existing 12GB RTX 4080 cards as some flavor of RTX 4070. This will probably have exactly zero impact on the card’s performance or pricing. But it will bring the card’s branding more in line with past generations, possibly alleviating some confusion from people wondering why two cards with the same model number offer such different performance.