The Nvidia RTX 4080 12GB is currently the cheapest graphics card in the GeForce RTX 4000 series that the company has officially announced, alongside the more expensive RTX 4080 16GB and RTX 4090. Although you’d be forgiven for assuming that the only difference between the two RTX 4080 models is the amount of VRAM that each has, one card seems to have more performance and better specs than the other.
Take a look at the ‘Performance’ section of Nvidia’s official product page for the RTX 4080, the 12GB model lags behind its 16GB counterpart in all three benchmarks to varying degrees. Although both graphics cards are more or less neck and neck when running Microsoft Flight Simulator, the frame rate difference is noticeable in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide.
It is only when consulting the RTX 4080 spec sheet that the reasons for this difference in performance become clear. The 12GB card not only has less GDDR6X VRAM than the 16GB model, but also has significantly fewer CUDA cores and a narrower memory bus. We’ll have to see how these disparities affect framerates outside of Nvidia’s benchmarks when we get our hands on a GeForce GPU, but we’ll likely see similar trends in our own results.
To further confuse matters, it appears that the RTX 4080 12GB will only be available from AIB partners, with the RTX 4080 16GB being the only one to get the Founders Edition treatment. However, any pixel pusher could be the best graphics card for your system, depending on your budget and needs.
However, if the RTX 4000 series remains too rich for your blood, an RTX 4070 or RTX 4060 could be the way to go, but there’s no indication when Nvidia will announce these cards yet. For those of you who just can’t wait that long, the AMD RDNA 3 release date is set for November 3rd, if you don’t mind popping a Radeon card into your rig.