A GeForce RTX 4070 was a conspicuous no-show during Nvidia’s GPU announcements yesterday. However, the company is planning to release an RTX 4000 model in the near future after it starts production.
“We don’t have everything ready to roll out 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’ll bring other products to market at the lower end of the stack.”
The statement also signals that RTX 4000 GPUs will eventually reach a more consumer-friendly price point. Currently, the most affordable product in the series is the 12GB GeForce RTX 4080, which landed in November at 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 midrange PC graphics card.
Why Nvidia is now ignoring the mid-tier and low-end markets is “simple” and “not so complicated,” Jensen said. “We usually start at the high end because that’s where enthusiasts want a 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 move further down the stack,” he said.
Still, Nvidia made the eyebrow-raising decision to sell two distinctly different RTX 4080 models despite sharing the same name. Because the 12GB model not only has less video memory, it only has 7,680 CUDA cores. The 16GB model, meanwhile, features a significantly higher CUDA core count of 9,728. Both models use different GPU chips powered by the company’s Ada Lovelace architecture.
As a result some the critic(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 officials said in a separate Q&A with reporters that the RTX 4080 12GB model is a “high-performance GPU” that can beat three times the performance of an older RTX 3080 12GB card.
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“We really think it’s worthy of an 80s-class product. That is why it is named,” said an executive. In other words, Nvidia is reserving the RTX 4070 for a lower-power GPU.
Nvidia is facing an oversupply situation with its older RTX 3000 series. Demand for GPUs has fallen to the point that retailers are slashing prices to help sell existing inventory. So it’s possible that Nvidia is waiting to clear out its existing supplies before releasing an RTX 4070 and other lower-end models. Otherwise any remaining inventory for RTX 3000 cards may fail.
The Nvidia CEO added: “I would have expected within the Q4 time frame, sometime in Q4, that the (sales) channel would have normalized, and that would have made room for a great launch for Ada.”
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