NVIDIA 'unlaunches' the RTX 4080 12GB GPU following widespread criticism

NVIDIA RTX 40 Series
(Image credit: NVIDIA)

What you need to know

  • NVIDIA has "unlaunched" the 12GB version of the RTX 4080 following widespread criticism from the PC community.
  • Many argued that the presence of two 4080's was confusing for consumers, and also that the considerably worse performance of the 12GB version made it seem like a rebranded version of an (currently unannounced) RTX 4070.
  • The 16GB RTX 4080 is still slated to launch on November 16, 2022 for $1,199.

Since NVIDIA's new generation of RTX 40 series GPUs was announced in September, gamers and PC enthusiasts everywhere have been confused by the company's decision to launch not one, but two RTX 4080 graphics cards. Though it initially seemed like the only difference between the two was VRAM — one has 16GB, while the other only has 12GB — it soon became clear that the 12GB variant had an entirely different graphics processor and fewer CUDA cores as well. Recent benchmarks from NVIDIA (opens in new tab) show just how much of a performance impact those differences have, with the 12GB version of the 4080 performing up to 30% slower than the 16GB one.

The PC gaming community has voiced widespread criticisms about the pair of RTX 4080 cards, arguing that the naming structure is confusing for consumers and questioning why NVIDIA didn't just call the 12GB GPU an RTX 4070 instead. In response to the feedback, NVIDIA has now "unlaunched" the 12GB RTX 4080 (opens in new tab).

The ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090. (Image credit: Future)

"The RTX 4080 12GB is a fantastic graphics card, but it’s not named right. Having two GPUs with the 4080 designation is confusing," said the company. "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."

While this will undoubtedly make the RTX 40 series easier to understand when purchasing a GPU, folks looking to buy something in the sub-$1,000 range from Team Green will have to wait longer than expected. The 16GB RTX 4080 is quite expensive at $1,199, and while that price isn't as eye-watering as the $1,599 RTX 4090 price tag, it's still a massive amount of money.

It's unclear if we'll ever see the cancelled RTX 4080 return, but if it does, some speculate that it will be rebranded into the RTX 4070, or perhaps the RTX 4070 Ti. Ultimately, though, we won't know more until NVIDIA shares its plans for the rest of the 40 series generation.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.