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The canceled Nvidia RTX 4080 12GB takes a beating in benchmarks

Nvidia decided to “unlaunch” the 12GB version of the RTX 4080, but those graphics cards were still made by Nvidia’s board partners. This means that, as with any other piece of PC hardware, some benchmarks of these ill-fated GPUs are expected to leak out.

Today, one such set of benchmarks appeared online, giving us our first look at what could have been the RTX 4080 12GB. Spoiler alert: It was beaten by GPUs from the previous generations.

Benchmark of the RTX 4080.

Nvidia’s RTX 4080 12GB, also known as the graphics card that was just not meant to be, appeared on Chiphell forums in leaked benchmarks. Nvidia may have chosen to cancel the RTX 4080 12GB and place all bets on the 16GB version instead, but Nvidia’s board partners were already hard at work preparing the graphics cards for an imminent launch. Even though they won’t make it to the stores under the RTX 4080 12GB branding, these GPUs still exist, and a member of the Chiphell forums took one out for a spin in a series of tests.

We don’t know the exact model of this RTX 4080 12GB, but the leaker provided some information about how it fared during the test. It’s worth noting that it was most likely running on a factory overclock, but this wasn’t mentioned by the tester. The GPU’s clock speed maxed out at 2,820MHz and the maximum power consumption hit 262W. At peak, it managed to deliver 42 teraflops (TFLOPs) of FP32 compute power.

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In Cyberpunk 2077, running at 4K with ray tracing enabled, the card maintained an average of 67.52 frames per second (fps). It was also put through a number of synthetic benchmarks, including 3DMark Speed Way where it scored 5,382 points;  3DMark Time Spy Extreme (10,794 points); 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (13,472 points), and the DXR Feature TEST (66.98 fps).

Wccftech compiled all these results and compared the unreleased RTX 4080 12GB to some of the best graphics cards that are available right now. Unsurprisingly, the RTX 4090 reigns supreme by a landslide so we won’t mention that GPU, but the RTX 4080 12GB was outperformed by RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series GPUs on several occasions.

New Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU over a black and green background.

In 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, the RTX 4080 12GB gets defeated by the AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT, 6900 XT, and 6800 XT. It scored about the same as the RTX 3090 Ti and barely more than the RTX 3090. It fared better in 3DMark Time Spy Extreme, falling just short of competing against the RTX 3090 Ti. In 3DMark Speed Way, it was significantly worse than both the RTX 3090 Ti and the RTX 3090.

Given the controversies that surround the RTX 4080 12GB, it was probably the right idea for Nvidia to “unlaunch” it, seeing as both the name and the price tag didn’t add up to the performance promised by the specifications. However, it might be a costly choice for Nvidia, which is currently also dealing with a rising number of reports of RTX 4090s melting.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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