Nvidia’s last-minute 12GB RTX 4080 rebrand will be painful for GPU makers.

Nvidia's last-minute 12GB RTX 4080 rebrand will be painful for GPU makers.
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Nvidia's last-minute 12GB RTX 4080 rebrand will be painful for GPU makers.

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Last Friday, Nvidia decided that “activation” a lower-end 12GB version of the upcoming GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card, so it could be renamed and released later. That was good news for people who care about that sort of thing — the $899 12GB RTX 4080 and $1,199 16GB RTX 4080 are very different were cards with significantly different levels of performance. Giving them the same name would have caused unnecessary frustration and confusion for buyers of a cheaper card.

The problem for GPU makers is that Nvidia planned to launch these cards in mid-November, and partners had already started manufacturing and packaging them to ship to retailers. Nexus Players Speaking to sources at two of Nvidia’s board partners about some of these logistical hurdles, they said that existing boxes for 12GB RTX 4080 cards were “collected and destroyed” and that Nvidia was at least subsidizing the boxes or some of them. be replaced.” The rebadged GPUs are likely to be reintroduced or relaunched (or not launched) around CES in January 2023.

Both GPUs already in production, and GPUs to be produced once Nvidia settles on a name (Gamers Nexus says it hasn’t happened, but “4070” or “4070 Ti” seems likely). GPU coolers usually have the card name and model number printed somewhere, sometimes prominently with programmable LEDs underneath. To replace an old RTX 4080 with a new brand, these coolers must either be rewritten, reprinted, or replaced.

The BIOSes on the cards also need to be reflashed so that the GPUs correctly identify themselves (to both drivers and operating systems) with their new model numbers, rather than pointing to RTX 4080 cards. Nexus gamers and its sources weren’t sure if Nvidia would also adjust the card’s specs to match the new model name, though Nvidia’s post last week makes that unlikely.

“The RTX 4080 12GB is a fantastic graphics card, but it’s misnamed,” he says. original blog post. Changing its features just because it changed the name would risk making it less “fantastic” and could lead to the same consumer backlash that prompted Nvidia to change the name in the first place.

Finally, Gamers Nexus says Nvidia will “also lower the price” of the rebranded GPU to reflect the new name. This can be difficult for partners who have already produced the cards given the old retail price, especially because profit margins for these board partners are reportedly already quite low. If you built GPUs for (say) $700 or $800 expecting to sell them for $900, you’d have a lot of room to drop the price before you start losing money, and we don’t know if Nvidia will offer some sort of discount. compensation dies for partners who have already purchased that GPU.

An Nvidia spokesperson told Ars that the company had “nothing to add” when asked about the payments.

A partner who won’t be affected by this? EVGA, which It severed its long-term relationship with Nvidia in September due to an alleged lack of communication and competition from Nvidia’s first-party Founders Edition cards. There was another side to this story – EVGA’s profit margins on GPUs It was lower than some of Nvidia’s other board partners because they didn’t make their own circuit boards or coolers, for example – but if you want to prove that Nvidia can be difficult to work with, “renaming a GPU weeks before release and only partially compensating partners for the problem” is cool. good example.

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