The Nvidia RTX 4080 12GB is currently the cheapest graphics card in the GeForce RTX 4000 series officially announced by the company, along with the more expensive RTX 4080 16GB and RTX 4090. While you’d be forgiven for assuming that the only difference between the two RTX 4080 models is the amount of VRAM each has, it turns out that one card packs more performance and beefier specs than the other.
Check out the ‘Performance’ section of Nvidia’s official product page As for the RTX 4080, the 12GB model falls short of its 16GB counterpart to varying degrees in all three benchmarks. While both graphics cards are more or less neck and neck when running Microsoft Flight Simulator, there is a noticeable difference in frame rates in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide.
The reasons for this difference in performance become clear only by consulting the RTX 4080 specification table. The 12GB card not only boasts less GDDR6X VRAM than the 16GB model, but also significantly fewer CUDA cores and a narrower memory bus. We’ll have to see how these differences affect frame rates outside of these benchmarks provided by Nvidia when we go hands-on with GeForce GPUs, but we’ll likely see similar trends in our own results.
To confuse matters further, it appears that the RTX 4080 12GB will only be available from AIB partners, with the RTX 4080 16GB only receiving the Founders Edition treatment. That said, depending on your budget and needs, either the Pixel Pusher might be the best graphics card for your system.
If the RTX 4000 series remains too rich for your blood, though, the RTX 4070 or RTX 4060 could go, but there’s no sign of when Nvidia will announce these cards. For those of you who can’t wait that long, the AMD RDNA 3 release date is set to fall on November 3, provided you don’t mind slotting a Radeon card into your rig.