Nvidia has finally announced the RTX 40 series, and three new RTX 40 cards will be available later this year: the flagship RTX 4090, the high-end RTX 4080 16GB, and the RTX 4080 12GB. Along with seemingly massive performance improvements over last-gen RTX 30-series cards, these new GPUs come with heavy price tags.
How much does the RTX 4090 cost?
The flagship RTX 4090 starts at an MSRP of $1,599, which is $100 over the RTX 3090’s $1,499 MSRP and $400 under the RTX 3090 Ti’s $1,999 MSRP. $100 more for Nvidia’s new flagship isn’t much when the RTX 3090 was already that expensive, so not much has changed here.
|memory||24GB GDDR6X||24GB GDDR6X|
|Increase clock speed||2520MHz||1695MHz|
It’s actually surprising that the RTX 4090 doesn’t cost more because it has a lot more CUDA cores than the RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti. It still has more or less the same memory size and bandwidth, but that really shouldn’t be a reason to worry; Nvidia should know how much VRAM its GPUs require.
How much does the RTX 4080 cost?
Things are a bit more complicated with the RTX 4080 as there are two different models: the 4080 16GB for $1,199 and the 4080 12GB for $899. That’s a lot more expensive than the RTX 3080 10GB, which launched at $699, but cheaper than the RTX 3080 12GB, which launched at $1,249. That being said, the 3080 12GB has rarely been readily available, and the price has come down since the GPU shortage ended. Compared to the standard RTX 3080 10GB, both RTX 4080 models are significantly more expensive.
|RTX4080 16GB||RTX4080 12GB||RTX3080|
|Architecture||Ada Lovelace||Ada Lovelace||amp|
|CUDA cores||9,728||7,680||8960 / 8704|
|memory||16GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X||12GB/10GB GDDR6X|
|Increase clock speed||2505MHz||2610MHz||1710MHz|
|bus width||256-bit||192-bit||384-bit / 320-bit|
|perfomance||320W||285W||350W / 320W|
At first glance, this different memory deal might sound like the difference between the RTX 3080 10GB and the RTX 3080 12GB, which have very similar performance but a huge price difference. However, these two different 4080s differ not only in memory size and price, but also in other specifications.
The RTX 4080 16GB has 9,728 CUDA cores, while the RTX 4080 12GB only has 7,680. The memory bandwidth of the 12GB model is also much lower since it has a 192-bit bus compared to the 256-bit bus of the 16GB version. The 12GB card does have a slightly higher clock speed, but that is more than offset by the lower core count and memory bandwidth. The 16GB and 12GB are effectively very different GPUs and not just different versions of the same card, hence the $300 price difference.
Which RTX 40 series GPU should you buy?
Until the reviews come in, it’s hard to recommend any of the RTX 40-series cards Nvidia has unveiled so far. These are some of the most expensive GPUs ever released (which wasn’t well received by most users), and even if the RTX 40 is as fast as Nvidia says, those high prices will definitely negatively impact the value proposition of these cards.
That being said, Nvidia’s new GPUs appear to be reasonably priced relative to each other. The RTX 4080 16GB offers over 2,000 more CUDA cores, 4GB more VRAM and more memory bandwidth than the RTX 4080 12GB for $300 more. For another $400, you could get the RTX 4090, which comes with 6,000 more CUDA cores, 8GB more VRAM, and even more memory bandwidth. The 4090 is actually in a class above the 4080 16GB, unlike the RTX 3090 which was just an RTX 3080 with a few more cores and a higher TDP.
If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a cutting-edge GPU, it might be worth going all out and getting the RTX 4090. At least then you won’t lack for more, even if it’s one of the most expensive gaming GPUs of all time. On the other hand, you still get faster ray tracing performance and DLSS 3 with the much more affordable RTX 4080 16GB and 12GB.