Nvidia has released an unconventional statement, where the company announced that it is “unlaunching” the GeForce RTX 4080 12GB graphics card due to naming issues.
Slated to launch on November 16 alongside the more powerful RTX 4080 16GB, the RTX 4080 12GB was mired in controversy ever since it was announced last month during the 40-series reveal.
Addressing the controversy, Nvidia admitted that the RTX 4080 12GB was not named right, and that having two GPUs with the same 4080 designation was confusing. Here’s the relevant portion of the company’s statement:
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.
Ever since its announcement, the RTX 4080 12GB’s naming has been a point of contention among media and the consumers. While the naming suggests the only difference between it and the RTX 4080 16GB is the available video memory, the RTX 4080 12GB is in fact also a significantly cut-down GPU, with 27% fewer CUDA cores and reduced memory bus width. This should result in a totally different performance profile compared to the larger RTX 4080 16GB model, as was also evidenced in some of Nvidia’s own performance charts.
While Nvidia is no stranger to launching desktop graphics cards with the same name but with different capabilities — not to mention the whole mess that is laptop GPU nomenclature — the RTX 4080 12GB was possibly the most egregious example yet of misleading customers with similar naming.
Based on the report from Gamers Nexus, it seems that the eventual re-release of the RTX 4080 12GB will also include a price adjustment alongside a new name. The popular opinion right now is that Nvidia will fall back to an RTX 4070/4070 Ti naming for the card, but there’s no firm information yet on the matter.
While this is a win for customers and the right move from Nvidia, one can’t help but feel bad for all the Nvidia board partners, who would have been in late stages of manufacturing, packaging, and marketing the RTX 4080 12GB, only to have to redo all or most of it to accommodate the new naming and pricing. It is reported, however, that Nvidia will be subsidizing some of the cost for this change to the board partners.
The RTX 4080 16GB is still on schedule and will be launching on November 16 at the same $1199 starting price as before.