Nvidia reportedly compensating partners after RTX 4080 12GB's last-minute cancellation

Nvidia RTX 4080 crossed out.
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Following the cancellation or 'unlaunch' of the RTX 4080 12GB, Nvidia has reportedly offered to reimburse its AIB manufacturing partners for any packaging that's already been printed, though whether that's in full or in part remains unclear.

With the new GPU's launch originally expected next month, at least the first batch of RTX 4080 12GB cards will have been manufactured, packaged, and likely already sitting in warehouses waiting to go out to retailers. There's going to be a whole lot of logistical gymnastics needed to pull those back and sort them out.

Gamers Nexus (via Videocardz) confirmed that two different Nvidia AIB partners are going to have the RTX 4080 12GB's packaging "collected and destroyed, or sent to recycling centres."

"From what we understand Nvidia is subsidizing the boxes, or at least part of them," Steve Burke notes. 

But the changes that partners will need to make don't just end with packaging. Not only will it involve reprinting the boxes and restickering the serial numbers on each card, the GPUs' vBIOS may also need to be flashed to incorporate the new name.

Burke suggests it might be more awkward to change the name for Founders Edition cards, though Nvidia has stated from the outset that there will be no FE card for RTX 4080 12GB.

Part of the whole issue with the RTX 4080 16GB and 12GB cards was that they weren't just the same GPU with a different memory configuration, but a completely discrete slice of silicon.

The 16GB card launching on November 16 will run on the AD103 chip, while the RTX 4080 12GB was supposed to sport a third-tier AD104 GPU. From the beginning that looked a lot like it should have been an RTX 4070-class chip, considering the underlying specs and memory design. And if Nvidia is solely looking for AIBs to change the packaging, a name-change seems the most likely avenue.

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When it comes to the 4080 12GB rename, we're guessing Nvidia will take the advice of the masses and rebrand it as some variant of an RTX 4070. It could decide to stick with whatever the original RTX 4070 specs were intended to be, if those were already set, and peg this one as an RTX 4070 Ti, giving it a way to still put a high price on the card.

It was originally meant to sell as an RTX 4080 12GB for $899, but it would be tough even for Nvidia to expect the market to accept that price for a straight RTX 4070. If it's marked as an RTX 4070 Ti it may still have to drop the price, but $799 wouldn't be a huge surprise.

One thing we don't know is when such a card might appear. We were expecting the RTX 4070 and below to arrive in the new year, but with these third-tier Lovelace GPUs just needing some fresh packaging, could they be an early Christmas present in December? Or a late one in January?

The big question right now will be whether Nvidia's offer to pay for the packaging will cover just the cardboard and printing, or if that will extend to the labour costs involved in taking each card out of its box, putting a new serial number sticker on there, and potentially even updating the vBIOS.

Honestly, it seems like EVGA got out of there just in time. 

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.