With the pandemic winding down and crypto mining all but dead, gamers thought it might once again be easy to buy a high-end GPU. And, maybe prices would be reasonable, too. As it turns out, we were wrong about both of those situations.
Case in point: Nvidia’s flagship RTX 4090 was almost impossible to buy when it launched recently, even at $1,599. Despite there being plenty of add-in boards to choose from, the bots seemingly snagged the lion’s share and tossed them up on eBay. With the less expensive RTX 4080 launching next week at $1,199, some people thought they might settle for this GPU instead. As it turns out, that GPU might be pre-scalped, with surprisingly high prices at launch. At least, that’s what early pricing from Microcenter indicates. If that’s also too rich for your blood, the RTX 4070 Ti is supposedly launching in January, with pricing TBD.
Word of the RTX 4080’s shocking pricing comes from Techspot, which posted a photo of all the models that will be available. The standout is the Asus ROG Strix OC model, coming in at $1,550. That’s just $50 less than an RTX 4090, which is considerably more powerful. You’d have to be crazy, or desperate, to pay that much instead of getting an RTX 4090. However, the base GPUs from Asus, PNY, Zotac, and Gigabyte are at MSRP. Those are all triple-fan chonkers, whereas it looks like the more expensive models are simply overclocked a bit. That’s usually not worth paying extra for, usually.
Typically, board makers will boost clocks from stock a paltry amount, such as 30MHz or so. However, it’s possible for the 40-series that they might have more OC headroom. Based on the benchmarks posted yesterday, that could actually be valuable this time around.
If you’re looking at this list of GPUs and beginning to reach for your wallet, hold up. It was previously reported Nvidia will have less stock than it did for the RTX 4090 launch. The reason being it is still trying to sell its existing Ampere inventory. These $1,199 GPUs are in the same territory as the RTX 3080 Ti, 3090, and 3090 Ti. That’s despite the fact that the RTX 4080 should bury them in benchmarks, even without DLSS 3. For example, in Nvidia’s own benchmarks the RTX 4090 offers twice the frame rate in rasterized tests in A Plague Tale: Requiem. In other tests, the two GPUs are closer, so the performance delta might not be huge in all games.
If you fail to snag an RTX 4080 16GB, the 4070 Ti will be coming out in January, according to rumors. The famed Twitter leaker @kopite7kimi leaked the news, with the timing being right in the middle of CES. Since it’s the next GPU in the stack, and Nvidia usually announces GPUs at CES, it seems very plausible. It’ll be an awkward launch, though, since Nvidia already announced it back in September. It’ll be a rebadged RTX 4080 12GB, in other words. Yes, the same GPU Nvidia “unlaunched.”
What’ll be very interesting is the pricing. Nvidia originally had the RTX 4080 12GB at $899, which is the same price as the Radeon RX 7900 XT. Nvidia claimed the RTX 4080 12GB/4070 Ti is “2-4X faster than 3080 Ti” at launch, so this could be a killer price-to-performance GPU. Note that the uplift it mentioned is with DLSS 3, not in rasterization. At least, that’s our interpretation of the marketing speak.
AMD’s announcement might cause Nvidia to be aggressive on pricing, placing it at $799 or so. That leaves an odd gap in Nvidia’s lineup as far as pricing goes, however. Either way, Nvidia isn’t shy about cranking out new GPUs to counter an AMD announcement, so we’ll see where the chips fall soon. AMD’s new GPUs will launch on Dec. 13, so Nvidia will ponder it over the holidays.
Nvidia’s RTX 4080 16GB GPU launches on Nov. 16, most likely at 6 a.m. PST like previous cards. If you’re considering one for your next upgrade, you should be looking on Newegg and Best Buy. Both sites had cards first, then they made their way to B&H and Amazon. You can also try using a stock watcher, such as this one, to avoid killing your F5 key.