RTX 4080: who should even buy these two graphics cards, Nvidia?

Eine Frage des Geldes - und der Sinnhaftigkeit. Die RTX 4080 macht mich stutzig.

A question of money - and of purpose.  The RTX 4080 makes me suspicious.

A question of money – and of purpose. The RTX 4080 makes me suspicious.

Ever since Nvidia introduced its new RTX 4000 series graphics cards, things have been heating up in the hardware community. While the increase in performance and, above all, the presentation of DLSS 3.0 make some people happy, the prices of the new high-end models in particular are causing tempers to heat up online.

I, too, am not entirely happy with what Nvidia showed just over a week ago. While I can still get a lot out of the RTX 4090, it’s mainly the two RTX 4080 cards that make me wonder. Because I want to be honest: I don’t see who Nvidia wants to address with the two new cards.

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Why I have no problem with the RTX 4090

If you read criticism of the new Nvidia cards online, it often starts with the price of the RTX 4090. With a starting price of 1949 euros, it is far too expensive and Nvidia is a criminal exploiter.

And yes, the RTX 4090 is expensive as hell and I understand anyone who is tearing their hair out at the starting price. But it is also aimed at a target group of enthusiasts who have the wherewithal to be able to put away a few hundred euros more relatively easily.

Alan Friedrichs
Alan Friedrichs

As a WQHD player, Alana is not directly affected by the prices of the new graphics cards. Nevertheless, she is also concerned that Nvidia may have miscalculated the price with the RTX 4000 series. She finds the two cheaper RTX 4080 cards in particular to be beyond the target group.

And after all, the card also makes a whopping leap forward in terms of performance, which is why those same enthusiasts have every reason to upgrade from their 3090 (Ti) to a 4090.

And this is exactly where the rub lies for me.

Why buying an RTX 4080 makes sense…

Now, of course, there are enough gamers who would also like a new, particularly powerful graphics card for their 4K gaming computer. And of course, Nvidia is smart enough to offer these gamers a cheaper alternative: the RTX 4080 with 16GB of memory.

The Founder’s Edition is available from 1469 euros. So roughly the same price you got a 3090 for last generation. The logical conclusion is obvious: Then I’ll just stay with the same budget and this time only buy an RTX 4080. The performance jump is still sufficient.

…and yet should lead to disappointment

This makes sense until you take a look at the data sheet of the two graphics cards. Because the difference between the two cards, at least on paper, is huge: around 60 percent more CUDA cores, 8 GB more memory, a faster boost clock and a wider memory interface clearly speak for the RTX 4090.

model RTX 4090 RTX 4080 (16 GB) RTX 4080 (12 GB)
Nuclear 16.384 9728 7680
clock rate 2,23 / 2,52 GHz 2,21 / 2,51 GHz 2,31 / 2,61 GHz
Storage 24 GB GDDR6X 16 GB GDDR6X 12 GB GDDR6X
TGP 450 Watt 320 Watt 285 Watt
Price 1949 Euro 1469 Euro 1099 Euro

Of course, independent reviews measuring the actual difference in performance are yet to come. But at the moment it’s clear, at least to me: If you want to build really good high-end performance into your system, it’s better to save a little longer and then treat yourself to the much more powerful RTX 4090 instead of the RTX 4080 (16 GB).

The RTX 4080 with 12 GB has the opposite problem. A look at the specifications quickly makes it clear that the two RTX 4080 models are two fundamentally different cards. The 12 GB variant has a weaker GPU, less memory and significantly slower data transfer. According to rumors, Nvidia even planned the card as an RTX 4070 until shortly before the release.

Accordingly, it would not be surprising if an RTX 4070 (Ti) announced in early 2023 comes very close to the current RTX 4080 with 12 GB in terms of performance. So why take the risk now and spend almost 1100 euros to miss out on a much better deal in the new year?

RTX 4080: Who is the target audience?

Let’s come to the conclusion of the whole thing: I don’t see who the new graphics cards with the designation RTX 4080 should be aimed at.

Those who are passionate about the new cards and have enough money on the side would probably prefer to go for the much more powerful RTX 4090. Just like everyone who is ahead of their time and wants to tackle 8K gaming.

KFA² GeForce RTX 3080 SG (1-Click OC) LHR
KFA² GeForce RTX 3080 SG (1-Click OC) LHR
10.0 GB VRAM, 8,704 shader units, up to 1.725 GHz, 320 watts

If you are currently only looking for a good 4K graphics card, you will find it with the significantly cheaper RTX 3080 from 760 euros. And already in early 2023 we can expect an RTX 4070 (Ti), which shouldn’t be too far behind the RTX 4080 (12 GB) in terms of performance – which is why the wait can be worth it.

My colleague Alex is also more torn than ever because of Nvidia’s new graphics cards. You can find out what he has to say about the RTX 4090 and Co. in his article.

RTX 4000: Why I’m more torn than ever about Nvidia’s new graphics cards

Now I’m curious about your opinion! Do you share my assessment of the two Nvidia cards? Or do you see the topic completely differently? And will you buy one of the new graphics cards at launch?

What do you think?

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