When Nvidia caved to customer outrage and decided to “unlaunch” its 4080 12GB card, its add-in board (AIB) partners were already frantically pushing on the behind-the-scene work that has to be done to get graphics cards prepped, packaged, and ready to sell to eager customers. Nvidia isn’t canceling the card, please note. It’s going to give it a new name, most likely something like the GeForce RTX 4070 or 4070 Ti.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as hitting the undo button for partners. As only the second Ada Lovelace GPU available, and arriving at a lower cost than the 4090, sales of the 4080 12GB would have been brisk even if hard-core gamers complained. That means packaging has already been printed, cut, and folded. The graphics cards’ BIOS has already been flashed and circuit boards have been branded using the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 12GB name.
That’s quite a bit of out-of-pocket expense, not to mention the cost of paying employees to take care of all of those tasks, only to have them redone. Finally, the unusable packaging has to be destroyed. The good news is that Nvidia is covering at least some of those expenses, according to recent video from Gamers Nexus. It isn’t entirely clear if labor costs will be covered as well, so this error in judgment could end up as a cost to Nvidia AIBs.
There was backlash about the naming of the GeForce RTX 4080 12GB because it not only has less memory than the 16GB, it also has fewer Cuda cores and lower bandwidth. With the rebranding as an RTX 4070, the list price might be lower, adding to Nvidia’s losses. The pressure of such a powerful card moving down one tier might even affect the pricing of the RTX 4060 GPU.
A lot of the fine detail from this incident remains to be seen but it’s clear that the expected November launch will be delayed. It’s not all confusion and trouble, however. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 16GB model is still on track for a November release.
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