Nvidia is “unlaunching” the 12GB RTX 4080, which is such an odd transfer that Nvidia made up a complete new phrase to mark the event. On one hand, it’s a optimistic growth for a card that most of us thought was a really dangerous concept. Alternatively, it’s additionally a really worrying signal for already rising GPU costs.
At $900, the 12GB RTX 4080 seemed like a slight value enhance over the earlier era — about $200. It’s a value hike, however one which Nvidia may simply defend. Nvidia is on the file saying that the price of producing GPUs goes up, and the RTX 4090 (which has already proved very fashionable) noticed the same $100 value enhance over the earlier era.
It’s arduous to defend the value hikes now, although. The 16GB RTX 4080 is simply the RTX 4080 now, which suggests we are able to actually examine costs one-to-one. At $1,200, the RTX 4080 is a full $500 costlier than the RTX 3080. The price of manufacturing could also be going up, however a $100 to $200 value enhance is way completely different than a $500 value hike.
When Nvidia introduced the RTX 4080 fashions initially, the neighborhood noticed the 16GB mannequin as being the “true” RTX 4080 and the 12GB mannequin as being a rebranded RTX 4070. Nvidia didn’t see the 2 fashions that method. In briefings with press, Nvidia described the 12GB model as the bottom RTX 4080, whereas the 16GB mannequin was an “enhanced” model — possibly one thing much like the $1,200 RTX 3080 Ti that launched within the earlier era.
Nvidia’s backpedaling tells a unique story. It’s unimaginable to say if Nvidia really noticed the 16GB model as a real successor to the RTX 3080 or it shifted stances following the overwhelmingly optimistic reception of the RTX 4090. However it doesn’t matter. With the 12GB mannequin formally within the can, Nvidia is sending a transparent message: GPUs on this class ought to promote above $1,000.
There was hypothesis that Nvidia deliberate to cement this class of GPU above $1,000 for some time. The $1,200 price ticket on the RTX 3080 Ti got here as a shock — it was a $200 enhance over the RTX 2080 Ti — and the 12GB RTX 3080 by no means obtained an official record value, however bought above $1,000 at launch.
We simply got here out of a GPU scarcity, which skyrocketed costs on the again of elevated demand from cryptocurrency miners and restricted provide. In lots of circumstances, players have been spending two instances the record value for a GPU, even for playing cards out there at retailers. Listing costs remained in act, although, and now that the GPU scarcity is over, playing cards have slipped and settled again in towards their record costs. Most RTX 3080 fashions, for instance, can be found round $700.
That demonstrates the ability of record value. Though provide and demand finally dictate how a lot graphics playing cards price, the record value units the aim publish — when provide and demand are in steadiness, GPUs ought to promote for his or her record value. Nvidia is shifting that aim publish with the RTX 4080.
Equally, GPU classifications have energy. Though Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang is on the file as saying “it’s only a quantity” in reference to the 2 RTX 4080 fashions, Nvidia clearly understands how segmenting two GPUs beneath that identify is deceptive. It’s good that Nvidia is lastly recognizing that reality, nevertheless it shouldn’t distract from the $500 value enhance that the RTX 4080 now carries.
It’s simple to get wrapped up in hypothesis about Nvidia (and AMD, for that matter) growing record costs to match scalper costs. Up thus far, although, that’s all it has been: hypothesis. We now have a transparent signal of rising GPU costs, not resulting from demand or provide or scalpers, however merely resulting from charging extra era over era.