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Nvidia is ‘unlaunching’ the 12GB RTX 4080

Nvidia is “unlaunching” the 12GB RTX 4080. The company announced its plans through a blog post, and shared the following comment with Digital Trends: “We are unlaunching the RTX 4080 12GB. Having two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing. You will not see it on Nov. 16.”

The RTX 4080 was originally announced in 12GB and 16GB variants, which caused a lot of community backlash. With fewer cores and less power, the 12GB model felt more like a rebranded RTX 4070. Nvidia seems to agree now, but it hasn’t said whether or not it will rebrand this model as the RTX 4070. The company also hasn’t said if it will adjust the list price of $900.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Following the blog post, Nvidia removed the 12GB model for its RTX 4080 product page. Although the 12GB and 16GB models were supposed to launch in November, it’s not clear if that’s still the plan for the 12GB version. Hidden in the blog post was news that the 16GB RTX 4080 would launch on November 16, finally confirming a release date for this graphics card.

Although it seems like the 12GB model is still on track for launch, Nvidia hasn’t confirmed if this version is canceled. It seems the graphics card will still launch in time, but it’s possible Nvidia will release a new graphics card in its place sometime in the future.

Much of the outrage following Nvidia’s RTX 40-series announcement came from the 12GB and 16GB RTX 4080 models. Although both carried the same name, they had vastly different specs. The 16GB version had 21% more CUDA cores and could handle far more Tensor calculations. In short, the amount of memory was far from the only difference between the two cards.

This isn’t the first time Nvidia has been caught in this situation. In the previous generation, there was a similar community outcry against the 12GB RTX 3080 — a graphics card that launched for $500 or more above the original RTX 3080. That model released months after the original GPU, though. With both the 12GB and 16GB models set to launch at the same time, Nvidia likely wanted to get ahead of the confusion it would cause when shopping for a new GPU.

Following the announcement of the RTX 4080 12GB, there was speculation that it was a rebranded RTX 4070 designed as a higher-end card in an effort to raise GPU prices. Although Nvidia is pulling the model now, it’s not clear if the eventual RTX 4070 will cost $900 or if Nvidia will lower the price. For reference, the RTX 3070 launched at a suggested price of $500.

Nvidia has gained a lot of good favor with gamers following the release of the RTX 4090. Although an expensive GPU at $1,600, the graphics card sold out almost immediately due to its massive performance lift (read our RTX 4090 review for a full breakdown). Nvidia ended its blog post by saying: “If the lines around the block and enthusiasm for the 4090 is any indication, the reception for the 4080 will be awesome.”

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