The GeForce RTX 4070 was a conspicuous absence during Nvidia’s GPU announcement yesterday. However, the company plans to release one—along with lower-end RTX 4000 models—in the near future when it starts ramping up production.
“We don’t have everything ready to launch all at once,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said in a Q&A with reporters on Wednesday. “What we have ready is the 4090 and 4080. But over time, we will bring other low-end products to market.”
The statement also signals that RTX 4000 GPUs will eventually come at more consumer-friendly prices. Currently, the most affordable product in the series is the 12GB GeForce RTX 4080, which arrives in November with a starting price of $899.
The other two products, the 16GB RTX 4080 and RTX 4090, start at $1,199 and $1,599, respectively, putting them out of reach for consumers hoping for a mid-range graphics card.
Why Nvidia is ignoring the mid-range and low-end market for now is “simple” and “not that complicated,” Jensen said. “We usually start at the high end, because that’s where enthusiasts want to refresh first. And what we’ve found is the 4080, 4090 is a good place to start. And as soon as we can, we’ll go further down the stack,” he said.
However, Nvidia made the exciting decision to sell two different RTX 4080 models, even though they share the same name. That’s because the 12GB model not only has less video memory, but also only packs 7,680 CUDA cores. Meanwhile, the 16GB model has a significantly higher CUDA core count at 9,728. Both models also use different GPU chips, powered by the Ada Lovelace architecture company.
As a result, some critics(Opens in a new window) claim that the 12GB RTX 4080 is actually a 4070 model in disguise, but with a $400 price increase over the RTX 3070, which originally launched two years ago starting at $499.
However, Nvidia sees things differently. Company executives said in a separate Q&A with reporters that the RTX 4080 12GB model is a “high-performance GPU” that can outperform the older RTX 3080 12GB card by three times.
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“We really think it deserves a Class 80 product. That’s why it’s really called that,” says the CEO. In other words, Nvidia reserves the RTX 4070 for lower-powered GPUs.
Nvidia is also facing an oversupply situation with its older RTX 3000 series. GPU demand has fallen to the point where retailers are slashing prices to help sell existing inventory. So it’s possible that Nvidia is waiting for its existing inventory to be depleted before releasing the RTX 4070 and other lower-end models. Otherwise, any remaining inventory for RTX 3000 cards could not be moved.
The Nvidia executive added, “I hope that by the fourth quarter, sometime in the fourth quarter, the (sales) channel will normalize and that would make room for a great launch for Ada.”
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